Durables cos eye tier II & III markets with new washing machine models

Written by Mona Mehta | Mumbai | Updated: May 26 2009, 06:57am hrs
Following pre-monsoon showers, competition has started hotting up in the Rs 20,000-crore consumer durable segment in India as manufacturers are in the process of launching new technological washing machines (WMs), apart from increasing penetration in tier-II and III cities to expand reach.

The move comes at a time when durable manufacturers are hoping these cities will contribute maximum to their revenues due to emerging demand for branded appliances. Not only that, certain premium durables dealers have started offering discounts apart from offering value-added services to customers on purchase of appliances. In the first quarter of the 2009-10

financial year , the Rs 2,300- crore washing machines market is growing by 10%, Suresh Khanna, secretary general, Consumer Electronics & Televisions Manufacturers Association told FE.

Ravinder Zutshi, deputy managing director of Samsung India, told FE, We are launching seven new models of WMs this monsoon soon after launching 8.5 and 10.5 kg top loading WMs. This year, we are setting a target of achieving 30% growth in WMs, to which the tier-II and III cities will contribute maximum due to the emerging demand for branded appliances. Competitor, LG Electronics India, too, is planning to launch new models in top and front loading washing machines, said V Ramachandran, director (marketing) - appliances, LG Electronics India.

There are certain durable companies who are launching new technological washing machines which will be priced 7 to 10% higher as compared with the existing models. On promise of anonymity, Videocon Industries officials said that due to repeated hike in raw material input costs since last one year, the company may look at hiking prices of new washing being launched during this monsoon as it cannot absorb hiked prices. Kamal Nandi, vice president (sales and marketing), Appliances division of Godrej & Boyce, said, Depending on the market situation, we may look at hiking the washing machine prices this monsoon.

According to Shantanu Das Gupta, vice president (corporate affairs & strategy, Asia South) of Whirlpool of India Ltd, said, Consumer sentiments are changing towards spends on durables. Hence, we would soon be launching new range of washing machines in metros. Apart from durable manufacturers and premium dealers in metros, Kerala government is now contemplating plans to launch 20% tax refund schemes to customers on purchase of appliances in Kerala, said Jose Ponnezhath, chairman, Dealers Association of Kerala. According to Ponnezhath, Between March to mid-May 2009, the demand for appliances in the South has grown by about 15% to 20% compared with the 50% purchasing power for appliances during the previous corresponding period.

Infiniti Retail Ltds Croma from the Tata Group is planning to launching exchange schemes for branded front and top-loading washing machines whereby customers can avail of gifts and freebies, according to Ajit Joshi, CEO, Croma.

Meanwhile, eZone , the electronics and consumer durables specialty store from Future Group, has launched their new Save With Us campaign to enable customers save in terms of money, service, time and energy when they shop for electronics. Manoj Kumar, CEO, eZone, said, In addition, eZone will also provide toll free services for all the products, tips on how to cut maintenance cost and extend the life of a product and offer products that are energy efficient, thus help in cutting down the electricity bill.