With the season for washing machines just beginning, the industry is anticipating a growth of about 6-7 per cent this year. It, however, remains to be seen if the players in the segment, besides competing with each other, are able to counter the threat coming from the easy availability of `domestic helps'.
"The category has been stagnating for the last four-five years and it was only last year that the segment experienced some movement," a Consumer Electronics & TV Manufacturers Association (CETMA) official said.
Elaborating on the reasons for the , the official said, "Besides, infrastructure bottlenecks such as power and water, easy availability of domestic help is the other major reason."
While the ICRA sectoral analysis reveals that, "low perceived utility of the product has also been a reason," the total size of washing machines market in India was estimated at 1.36 million units during financial year (FY) 2003. Based on recent trends, the market is expected to grow to an estimated 1.45 million units in 2004. The total installed capacity in the organised washing machines sector as of FY 2002 is an estimated 3.63 million units per annum.
The organised washing machines industry consists of domestic and multinational players, the latter having carved out a sizeable market presence during the last few years. The major brands in the organised washing machines industry are LG, Videocon, Whirlpool, Samsung, Godrej, and IFB. Other brands include National, Electrolux, Siemens and Onida.
During FY 2003, LG captured the market leadership position, displacing Videocon. The Korean player's market share has increased to 25.7 per cent from 10.8 per cent in calendar year (CY) 1999. Over the same period, Videocon's share has declined to 21.3 per cent from 30.1 per cent. BPL, which had a significant market presence till late-1990s, has also witnessed a steep decline in market share to 2.8 per cent during FY 2003 from 14.9 per cent in CY 1999. Apart from LG, Samsung has also witnessed significant rise in market share from 2.4 per cent in CY 1999 to 14.7 per cent during FY 2003.
In the semi-automatic category, Videocon led the market till FY 2002, before losing its leadership position. Its position has declined to 23.6 per cent during FY 2003 from 34.1 per cent in CY 1999, mainly because of increased competition from the Koreans, with LG occupying the leadership position (27.4 per cent market share). Samsung has also recorded a sizeable gain, with a market share of 15.6 per cent in FY 2003.
Further, in the fully automatic segment IFB lost its leadership position to LG during FY 2003. IFB's market share dipped to 16.7 per cent during FY 2003 mainly because of limited product range, increased price, production, and launch of new products by multi-nationals. IFB only markets front-loading automatic washing machines, and this sub-segment itself has lost market to top-loading automatic washing machines. During FY 2003 LG captured the leadership position displacing IFB with a market share of 20 per cent in FY 2003. After LG and IFB, Whirlpool is the third-largest player in the segment.