Consumer electronics companies, after riding on the feel-good sentiment in the second half of 2003, are hoping that the good times spill over on to 2004 as well.
According to Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (Cetma), close to eight million colour televisions were sold last year and the target for 2004 is 9.5 million — an increase of nearly 20 per cent.
CTV sales picked up after a brief blip post the cricket World Cup in March 2003. October alone accounted for sales of a record 1.2 million sets.
Most companies have ended the year on a comfortable note achieving their targets, and in some cases, bettering them.
Both the Korean electronics majors, LG and Samsung, which closed their financial year on December 31, 2003, estimate CTV sales to be up by more than 15 per cent over last year.
Sales of other consumer durables such as ACs and refigerators too suffered for a short time owing to the good monsoons.
“In the last five months there has been a steady growth of nearly 10 per cent in this category and the momentum will only grow in 2004,” said Rajeev Karwal, managing director, Electrolux Kelvinator India.
“We were already working on stretched targets for 2003-04 because we anticipated the pick-up after two sluggish years of growth. So there was no revision of targets mid-year, but given the building optimism, growth will be around 15 per cent,” says Soumitra Ghatak, executive vice-president, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company.
There are fears that the recent hike in steel prices might increase prices of consumer durables as well.
“The competition is intense and prices are unlikely to go up. But it will certainly eat into the wafer thin margins,” adds Ghatak.