French electronics brand Thomson, which re-entered the Indian market in 2018 with LED TVs, has recently ventured into the air coolers segment. Pegged to be about 4 million-units market this year, with a possible growth rate of 15-20%, Thomson plans to sell 40,000 units this season. Thomson is manufacturing its air coolers locally, at its Bawal plant in Haryana. At this backward integrated facility, the company has the capacity of manufacturing up to 1 lakh coolers a year.
"After a successful launch of other appliances, we saw air coolers have the best potential growth in India as it is growing 15% year on year. Since there were no affordable premium brands in air coolers, especially online, we took that opportunity and introduced the right kind of pricing in coolers, especially desert coolers from 50LT onwards," says Avneet Singh Marwah, CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd. SPPL is the India Brand Licensee for Thomson in India.
Since the launch of air coolers in April, Thomson has been selling well in the northern part of India but has also witnessed a spike in the southern regions which caters to most of the sales including Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad. "We are seeing a jump in states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra. Key states where there is an even higher jump are Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. These are some of the prime focus sale territories but due to the sudden temperature increase in the past few years in the southern part of India there has been a significant jump in those states too," adds Marwah.
Moreover, the current lockdowns haven't disrupted sales for Thomson. Foreseeing the demand, Thomson had adequate stocks in place. Although during the initial launch, the company witnessed a spike in sales and were completely out of stock, the company is now completely in stock and prepared for the coming months.
Commenting on the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 on business, Marwah adds, "The second wave has been quite severe compared to the first one. I think the biggest challenge so far has been the consumer sentiments which have been down in terms of air coolers being a seasonal product. While there is not much impact currently but if lockdowns continue with a ban on non-essential delivery, it will definitely impact sales."
A new category for Thomson, the company claims to have developed the Cool Pro technology where air coolers are designed with improved honeycomb cooling media to give maximum cooling with less water consumption. Thomson has been selling air coolers exclusively on Flipkart and its CPW50 and CPD70 are the two best-selling models for the brand. Priced at Rs 5,999, the CPW50 window air cooler has been the bestseller due to its blower speed for maximum cooling with the compact size. CPD70 is the 70-litre desert cooler retailing for Rs 7,599. In terms of after-sale, Thomson claims to have a network of 550 service centres across India and is currently catering to more than 18,000 pin codes.