Even as the airconditioner market continues to grow aided by product innovations and other factors, major players are betting that this trend will continue.
According to Videocon Group of Companies chairman VN Dhoot: “In the last five years, AC prices have come down by almost 50 per cent. ACs, which were earlier available for Rs 25,000, are now available for Rs 12,000, which is why we feel that the AC market will grow at the rate of 20 per cent next year.”
On the other hand, Hitachi Home and Life Solutions India has recorded a 17 per cent increase in its season sales during the period March-June 2004 compared to last year’s sales of 36,000 units. Reason: The company has spruced up its R&D efforts to come out with technologically superior products such as the Hitachi Atom (Window and Split AC). It has also made efforts to make split ACs more appealing to customers besides making them competitively priced, largely targeting first-time users.
Meanwhile, Mirc Electronics Ltd vice-president (sales and marketing) V Chandramouli said: “This season, we have achieved a 400 per cent sales growth in the split AC segment having recently sold 12,000 Onida ACs compared to 3,000 units sold last year.”
According to Mr Chandramouli, after having established an exclusive network of around 70 sales and service (S&S) dealers last year, Mirc Electronics is now gearing up to expand its network to 170 S&S dealers in the next two months.
According to Voltas Ltd vice-president (operations) KJ Jawa: “Despite hike in AC prices by around five per cent, we have achieved a 40 per cent sales growth in ACs this season, over the previous corresponding period. In the split AC segment, we hope to grow our market share from 22 to 24 per cent, and in the window AC segment from 9 to 12 per cent within a year.”
Voltas Ltd is planning to beef up its distribution network from 1,400 to 1,700 retail outlets within a year to reach a wider target audience. Besides, the company has also merged its refrigerator business with the AC business to make its organsation a channel-friendly one in terms of sales, service and retail network. It has also recently bagged orders worth Rs 29 crore for its newly introduced telecom shelter ACs from telecom companies.
Will the extended warm weeks in parts of the country keep the coffers ringing for AC manufacturers? That is a moot question.