Voltas, which has already exited from its refrigerator business, faces Korean onslaught in an increasingly competitive marketplace. It also remains to be seen how another Indian player Godrej, the latest entrant in the AC segment, is able to survive in the current scenario.
The 1.4-million-unit-per-annum industry by volume has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 18-20% for the past three to four years, leaving enough room for new players to gain newer markets every year.
Of the Rs 3,000-crore pie, the room AC market is of Rs 1,800 crore while the institutional AC market is of Rs 1,200 crore. During 2003, there were many AC players such as LG, Voltas, Samsung, Hitachi, Carrier, Blue Star, National, Whirlpool and Electrolux. "Of these, Blue Star, Carrier and Voltas are strong in the institutional segment, but not in the home sector. Koreans still continue to dominate the arena," says ORG-GfK director, Bhuwan Singh.
Contacted, Voltas Ltd, vice-president (ACs), KJ Jawa said: "The penetration of ACs is as low as 2% in India. In an effort to garner more volume growth, we are planning to focus on rural penetration this year, and expand our distribution network by adding 1,500 dealers more to the existing team."
According to Samsung India deputy managing director, Ravinder Zutshi, Samsung India has launched 19 AC models in January 2006 as its offering this season. "We hope to increase our market share to 28%," he added.