To cash in on the monsoons, consumer durable companies have chalked out new marketing initiatives to promote their washing machines across the country. Competition is thus hotting up in the segment.
According to Samsung India Electronics director (marketing) Ravindra Zutshi: “We are planning to increase penetration levels for ‘Samsung’ washing machines from 15 to 30 per cent by strengthening our dealer network in larger cities and metros in 2004. This year we will focus on enhancing the features and make the line-up of our washing machines strong. We will launch four new models of Samsung washing machines and thereby increase the number of models from 10 to 14 within a year.”
Samsung is also planning to double the number of ‘Samsung Digital Homes’ which at present stand at 25. Besides, the company is also planning to expand the base of ‘Samsung Service Plazas’ from Delhi to an additional five metros in 2004.
Samsung India has also recently set up nine exclusive service centres for home appliances and has a network of 700 authorised service centres across the country.
Apart from this, the company is also planning to launch a new ad campaign for washing machines which will revolve around the theme called ‘Tumse Hai Zindagi’.
According to Mr Zutshi, with the move, the company hopes to garner a volume growth of around 35 to 40 per cent and grow its market share in the washing machines segment from 16 to 25 per cent in 2004.
Meanwhile, the Appliances Division of Godrej and Boyce Manfacturing Company Ltd has set aside an investment budget of Rs 10 crore to launch new mass media advertising campaign which will talk about the new two models of ‘Godrej’ washing machines embedded with ‘pulsi-tator’ technology soon.
Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd (Appliances Division) executive vice-president Soumitra Ghatak said: “Godrej is planning to break the campaign for washing machines by mid-July featuring Bollywood actress Preity Zinta. We will launch two new models: one 6 kg model in the semi-automatic category and another 5.5 kg in the automatic category.”
As part of the distribution strategy, Godrej is planning to move into second-rung towns in a bigger way to promote its washing machines this year. This is because domestic helps are not as easy to find these days as they were earlier.
The company also plans to increase penetration for ‘Godrej’ refrigerators from 1,100 to 2,500 towns and for washing machines by an additional 200 towns, he added.
According to Mr Ghatak, with the new initiatives, the company’s Appliances Division hopes to garner a volumes growth of 30 per cent for washing machines within a year compared to 25 per cent achieved during the previous corresponding period. With the move, the company hopes ‘Godrej’ washing machines’ contribution to its overall sales turnover to grow from 10 per cent to 12 per cent within a year.
According to Mirc Electronics Ltd vice-president (sales and marketing) V Chandramouli: “Since April 2003, we have started rolling out ‘Onida’ washing machines in the Indian market and we have achieved six per cent market share till March 2004. This year we aim to cross the barrier of 10 per cent market share during Diwali 2004.”
For the purpose, the company has started promoting the concept of ‘Hydrofall’ washing machines with a fully plastic body whereby the water falls inside the washing machine and has no risk of electrical shocks.
The company is planning to beef up its distribution network from 600 to 1,200 dealers in bigger cities. Plans are also on the anvil to foray into smaller towns to promote ‘Onida’ washing machines. “We are also planning to relaunch a new advertising campaign for ‘Onida’ washing machines in July 2004 at an investment of Rs 4 crore. We expect ‘Onida’ washing machines to contribute an additional eight per cent to our overall sales turnover within a year,’’ he summed up.
With varied marketing plans and growing consumer demand for washing machines, it remains to be seen how far consumer durable companies are successful in meeting up their sales and volume growth target this year.