With mercury all set to rise steadily, competition seems to be hotting up in the refrigerators segment, too. For, in order to beat the summer heat, and, woo consumers across the country, consumer durable companies are planning to implement new marketing initiatives, consumer promotions, and promote their refrigerators in March-April-May 2004, in India.
When contacted, Mr Ajay Bajaj, product group head - refrigerators, LG Electronics (India) Private Ltd said: “During this summer, our new marketing activities for ‘LG’ refrigerators will highlight new product range with even more value addition such as high energy efficient compressor to save on electricity, long-lasting preservation, feature selling such as micom digital control, at a value-for-money pricing strategy. For the purpose, we have upgraded our entire range of refrigerators, and, with the move, expand the number of models of ‘LG’ refrigerators from 36 to 39. Besides, we will also continue to introduce three new refrigerator models every month.”
Further, Mr Bajaj added that the company is planning to invest Rs 60 crore on the new marketing activities this year, as compared to the investment of the Rs 30 crore the company had made during the previous corresponding period.
As part of its distribution strategy, LG is in the process of beefing up its distribution network from 200 to 275 distributors, and, direct dealers from 900 to 1,000. At present, the company also has around 4,000 total outlets selling LG refrigerators, and, 65 exclusive ‘LG’ showrooms, across the country.
According to Mr Bajaj: “With the new marketing initiatives, we hope ‘LG’ refrigerators volume growth from 7.5 lakh to 15 lakh units this year. Thus, we hope to garner a sales turnover of Rs 1,000 crore through the refrierators segment, this year.”
At present, of the 3.8 million total refrigerator industry, direct cool, is growing at the rate of 5 to 6 per cent per annum, and, frost-free at the rate of 18 to 20 per cent, per annum. Within a year, LG hopes both the segments to grow by an additional 1 to 2 more per cent.
As for the emerging trends, introduction of star ratings for energy efficient compressors will be formalised by the government of India.
Said Mr Ravindra Zutshi, director - sales, Samsung India: “From the month of March 2004, we are adding a new feature in all Samsung frost-free refrigerators, which is, the Nano Silver Coating on the inner surface of the refrigerator which serves as a barrier against groth of bacteria. It thus serves to provide a sanitized interior for the food kept in the refrigerator.”
Further, Mr Zutshi explained that in the period March-April-May 2004, we will be releasing new advertising for refrigerators with the forthcoming Samsung Cup based on the theme of ‘Tumse Hai Zindagi’, which is the communication platform we have taken for Samsung’s other home appliance products like washing machines and microwave ovens, as well.
According to Mr Zutshi: “We are planning a 100 per cent jump in sales volume in March-May 2004 over previous corresponding period last year based on new model, frost-free model and feature additions, expanded dealer network, heavy brand visibility during the Samsung Cup, and, of course, the new advertising for the refrigerator product category.” As part of its distribution strategy, Samsung India is looking at expanding its penetration level for home appliances to 30 per cent this year compared with 15 per cent penetration levels last year, he added.
According to Mr Zutshi: “Since Samsung is the title sponsor to the forthcoming Indo-Pak Series which are called the Samsung Cup Test and ODI Series, we will be releasing new product linked advertising during the Samsung Cup series as well as new Team Samsung Advertising featuring Rahul Dravid, Viredra Sehwag, Mohammed Kaif, among others.”
Further, Mr Zutshi informed that all Samsung communication during the Samsung Cup will carry ‘Jeet Lo Dl’ logo attatched which is the basic theme of our communication for the Samsung Cup. In the year 2004, Samsung is looking at a close to 70 per cent jump in its refrigerator sales. This is linked with the availability of new frost-free models in 230 litres and 260 litres frost-free categories and the entire frost-free range strengthening. “We have also added new models in the hi-end side-by-side refrigerator segment this year,” he summed up.
When contacted Mr Rajeev Karwal, managing director and chief executive officer, Electrolux Kelvinator Ltd, he said, based on the combination of cutting-edge technology and incisive consumer insights, Electrolux has widened its refrigerator range, and, has launched products with unique features and applications.
According to Mr Karwal: “For us, women are our core audience and all our marketing initiatives will be targeted at them. We at Electrolux, understand a woman’s needs and desires to own products and durables, that nuture their hopes and nourish their lives. This philosophy has guided us to the launch India’s first hands fre refrigerator, the Oxyswing and the fastest growing frost-free refrigerators, the Ozone.”
Further, Mr Karwal added that in order to reach out to women audience, Electrolux Kelvinator will be participating and associating in events and activities targeted at them. “Recently, we sponsored Electrolux FE Women in Business awards. We are also inviting woman managers to Electrolux homes. We feel that this is another way of empowering the women. Also this cricket season will see Electrolux’ presence in all the prominent series,” he explained.
As for the volume growth, Mr Karwal opined that the company will grow as per the market growth, going up the value chain. “In fact, we are in the process of beefing up our distribution network to enhance company’s presence and reach for its customers, across the country. We are expanding our reach to Class A counters and also have taken steps to increase our counter share in current counters,” he summed up.