Haier expects to see a significant double digit growth this year: NS Satish
Satish, Senior VP - Sales & Marketing, Haier Appliances, shared that a big part of their brand story is focusing on consumer insights, research into product planning & launching products accordingly
In its recent campaign, ‘Perform Big, Silently’ for its latest 929 series Washing Machine, Home Appliances & Consumer Electronics major Haier TVCs featured women achievers such as mountain climber – Dr. Arunima Sinha; India’s first woman commando trainer – Dr. Seema Rao; Indian Female Chess Grandmaster - Harika Dronavalli; and Female Mountain Biker - Anissa Lamare. Haier’s campaign is an extension to its ‘Silent Performers’ campaign that acknowledges Indian women achievers and athletes and is in line with its motto of 'Inspired Living.' The 929 series Washing Machine is super silent with a super drum, featuring other innovative functions and it was this insight that Haier utilized to look at women achievers who haven’t got their due recognition.
NS Satish, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Haier Appliances India says, “These silent performers have brought glory to India but there was absolutely no noise about them. From our brand perspective we thought, ‘How do we bring these women into the limelight?’ We have brought these women into the limelight with our campaign. Additionally, you only see our washing machine at the very end of the TV commercial in a subtle way.” He adds, "Sometimes a beautiful story fails to sell a product. However, we strongly believe that as a brand when we associate ourselves to an inspired living, this helps the brand and does the job. Haier has taken a clutter-breaking route and taken a bold step by not taking on a celebrity. We at Haier are looking at all kinds of inspiring stories and want to build on them and bring them into the limelight. ”
Solving The Consumer Pain Points
According to Satish, a big part of Haier’s brand story is focusing on consumer insights, research into the product planning and launching products that are relevant to customers. He highlights Haier’s latest launch, ‘Made in India, Made for India’ 2 & 3 door convertible SBS (side by side) 682 and 683 refrigerator series. This product was based on intensive consumer research in India to understand the usage patterns of customers owning a side-by-side (SBS) refrigerator. An insight that Haier picked up was based on a consumer pain point – large freezer space which is under-utilized and a bigger refrigerator section in the SBS refrigerator. This insight led to the 682 and 683 refrigerator series. - a three-door refrigerator - one part a refrigerator, the other part divided into two compartments - a refrigerator on top and a freezer on the bottom. The top part refrigerator can be used as a refrigerator or it can be converted into the freezer. Among Haier’s other innovations, was the launch of bottom mounted refrigerators in India. Satish says that in the initial two years, Haier had to explain the concept to people as no other brand had a similar product. However, after Haier’s success other brands too launched bottom-mounted refrigerators. Another innovation was the introduction of glass door refrigerators.
“We are able to identify the pain points and take the first step to solve these pain points across three-four categories. We have clearly proved that our research, product planning, and launch are good and it is evident because the competition is following us. We stay true to our core philosophy – research the product, understand the Indian consumer better and then launch the product accordingly.”
Positive Consumer Sentiment
A positive trend for the entire Consumer durable sector is the increase in the inquiries and digital traffic from consumers with an intent to buy this festive season. On its part, Haier is “not leaving behind any corners and gone aggressive” this season. Satish says that Haier has seen a significant upswing across categories with Air Conditioners, Washing Machines, Refrigerators, and LEDs leading the sales growth. Commenting on online’s contribution to sales Satish says, “On an average, 7% to 8% percent of our business comes from online business and we have seen good growth in the appliances segment. This trend will continue and we expect 35% - 40% percent growth in the entire appliance business online.”
Satish says that while some consumers continue to stay away from showrooms is a temporary change, what is permanent is the way consumers search for information. He explains, “People not going to showrooms at the moment are a temporary change. Once the situation improves, people will return to showrooms. What’s changed permanently is the way consumers are consuming/searching information. Traffic to our website, viz-a-viz last year, has doubled. This means that people are doing their research online.”
In terms of consumer outreach, Satish says that Television remains a key part of the media plan given its mass reach while the brand has seen good response from vernacular newspapers. A prominent shift has been the move of the premium audiences to the Digital mediums reflecting the consumption change of this segment.
A major hurdle for the electronic and auto industry has been the global supply chain disruption with the semiconductor chip shortages. On his part, Satish says that while Haier has not been impacted by the supply chain disruptions, the increase in freight costs is a concern. He says, “Every brand is being impacted by either the freight cost which has increased or by the supply chain disruption, especially brands dependent on imports from Southeast Asia or China.” While some companies have absorbed the costs, consumers could be paying more for the products post Diwali or from the new year.
On a final note, when asked how the year will end in terms of revenues for Haier, Satish says that they expect to see a significant high double digit growth this year.
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