This festive season, air purifiers joined mobiles phones and TVs to record high growth among consumer electronics on e-commerce platforms.
Sandeep Karwa, senior director of product and business at Flipkart, said that the platform saw a 400% increase in the units air purifier sold during the festive season this year compared to last year.
“From our observations of data, people bought air purifiers as a reactionary measure and not a preventive measure,” he said. Karwa added that media reports and visual evidence of increasing air pollution in cities have driven up sales of air purifiers.
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest study, released earlier this year, showed that nine of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India. During Diwali this year, air pollution levels reached record highs. The Delhi area recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) level of about 1,000 a day after Diwali. An AQI level above 300 is considered “hazardous”.
The reason for this significant increase in sales is also tied to an increased focus by global brands in the segment and the wider priced product portfolio.
Companies like Panasonic, Honeywell, Xiaomi, Philips, Dyson have banked upon the rising air pollution by developing products and driving down costs to appeal to the demands coming for a wider demographics. “The market is responding to different tiers of income groups. There are air purifiers, which start at Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 and go up till Rs 30,000-40,000,” said Raghwesh Ranjan, environment expert from IPE Global. Karwa pointed out that the average selling price (ASP) of air purifiers decreased this year going from closer to Rs 10,000 last year to Rs 7,000 and Rs 7,500 this year on Flipkart.
While attention to air pollution has been more or less restricted to the NCR region, Karwa and Ranjan say air pollution also affects other cities in India. “75-80% sales of air purifiers came from North India but it’s not only Delhi NCR but also Mumbai, Patna, Ranchi and Kanpur,” Karwa said. Ranjan also pointed out that due to a variety of regional reasons, pollution levels have spiked in Tier 2 cities. He added that apart from online branded sales, there was a significant increase in sales of unbranded air purifiers sold by local or Chinese vendors.
Amazon India said air purifier sales, this festive season were 3X, compared to the same time last year. It added that in the last 8 weeks prior to November 2, 2018, the platform saw a 13X spike in sales for air purifiers.