LG and Samsung have captured the top two positions in the Indian microwave market, ousting Indian consumer durables major BPL from the top slot. LG has grabbed the No. 1 slot with a marketshare of 22 per cent while Samsung has moved into the No. 2 position with a marketshare of 20 per cent.
Indian brands have not been totally ousted. Kenstar — which is marketed by Kitchen Appliances, a Videocon Group company — occupies the third slot with a marketshare of 18 per cent.
The South Korean majors have launched several low-priced models over the last three years, which has made the microwave a more affordable product.
Several models have been launched in the Rs 8,000-Rs 12,000 bracket, compared to the minimum price of Rs 25,000 at which microwaves were sold about three years ago, before the South Korean majors entered the Indian market.
The one-time market-leader BPL has chosen to maintain a low profile for now. The company is mulling two alternative strategies: one is to make a re-entry under the BPL-Sanyo brandname, or launch only Sanyo models at the top end of the market.
The South Koreans have been able to capture a decent marketshare based on their low-priced models.
Growth in this segment has not really been sizzling for the past one year. Volumes growth in the market has been flat with the growth rates in the major metros being virtually stagnant. The semi-urban markets are growing at around 5-10 per cent.
Volumes for the year ended June 2001 were at 1.3 lakhs-1.5 lakhs, according to market estimates. Almost 70 per cent of the demand is for the models in the Rs 9,000-Rs 13,000 price range.
One of the major problems faced by players is the fact that, currently, almost 80 per cent of the customers use the microwave as a re-heating device rather than a cooking medium.
Other brands in this segment include IFB, Bajaj, Sharp and Whirlpool. The market this year is expected to show a growth of 10-12 per cent. By the end of the year, the market is expected to be around 1.7-1.75 lakh units per year.