Dishwashers can free a household from the tyranny of a dull chore and the unreliable, yet haughty ‘bai’, however, with the current annual sales of around 8,000 dishwashers, it’s not a big market by any measure. Now, factors like higher disposable incomes, time constraints and maid management issues paint a bright future for the category.
While hotels and restaurants have been using industrial dishwashers, households seem to be waking up, too, to the rising needs of better lifestyles posing a time shrink and are increasingly opting for dishwashers.
Industry players are upbeat that India is ready for the product. Manish Talukdar, General Manager, Siemens Home Appliances, affirmed, “People are realising that hygiene is important. They also are concerned about quality. Dishwashers can very well satisfy these needs. Other positive factors like higher disposable incomes and need for convenience increase opportunities for the segment.”
That the segment is growing can’t be denied. Pragya Kalia, Business Manager-Mumbai, IFB Industries Ltd, shared some figures. “This segment has grown at 67 per cent YOY (year-on-year) last year. This might go up to 70-75 per cent this year with the advent of more players and hence, the segment is getting more talked about,” she added.
Though currently, mostly the top-end slot of customers are going for dishwashers, the trend nonetheless is catching up as modular kitchens are finding a place in many households.
Kalia and Talukdar both agreed that exposure to developed nations boosted the category. Along with the dishwashers, the complementary product category – detergents – also has a promising future.
“Although the bigger players are keeping away, owing to inadequate sales, there will be action in the days to come,” said Talukdar, adding, “We have two suppliers for detergents – Prismat and Suma.”
Agreeing with him, Kalia said, “As this segment grows, there would be another industry that would enjoy this growth, i.e., detergents, as dishwashers require a specific kind of powder, salt and rinse aid.”
Sketching the profile of the ideal target customer, Kalia said, “A working lady always tight on time, a socialite, frequent traveller due to personal or professional reasons, a lady who values hygiene and who is aware and has been exposed to such a product directly or through somebody, and last but not the least, a lady who wants to be out from the daily nagging and preserve her valued crockery from breaking.”
The factors that need to be taken care of are undoubtedly awareness and affordability. The apprehensions of the consumers need to be addressed. Talukdar gives an idea of the prices saying, “Our range of dishwashers start at Rs 22,000 and go up to Rs 60,000 for the top end.”
When asked whether paper dishes posed any threat for dishwashers, Kalia said, “Lifestyle does matter to all concerned. Nobody would cease to have regular dishes or expensive crockery. Also, nature would be under a major threat owing to increased use of paper.”
Talukdar, too, observed that paper dishes were not used on a daily basis, and thus posed no threat to dishwashers.
With time available at hand waning all the time, dishwashers certainly seem to be headed for better times even as maidservants might shrug with discontent.