Rains may have washed out some keenly awaited contests in the ongoing cricket World Cup, but that has not deterred Indian fans from upgrading to high-end TVs to enjoy the matches.
Consumer electronics makers as Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic have reported up to 100 pc jump in sales of large-screen TVs (55-inch and above) compared to the same period last year.
Interestingly, the sales spurt has not been restricted to just the metros, as smaller cities such as Hubli, Jabalpur, Raipur, Ranchi, Kochi and Nagpur too have posted robust numbers.
Moreover, companies expect sales to pick up further as the tournament progresses towards the knock-out rounds, and have lined up attractive offers, including easy financing and cashbacks, to woo the fans.
"The World Cup started around 10 days ago and now we can see the largest screen sizes, particularly 55-inch and above 4K TVs, a sales jump of almost 100 percent. This is twice what used to be in the same time last year," Sony India BRAVIA Business Head Sachin Rai told PTI.
Samsung India Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Business, Rajeev Bhutani said that as India progresses ahead in the competition, sales would increase.
"Cricket fans across India are upgrading to bigger TV screens to enjoy the World Cup. In the month of May, we saw sales of 55-inch and above TVs, which include our QLED TVs, double over last year. Sale of 75-inch and above TVs saw a 5X jump, indicating a rising demand for bigger screens this World Cup," he said.
According to Panasonic India Business Head (Consumer Electronics) Sharath Nair, after festive sales, sporting season is the major opportunity for companies to connect with customers and create engagement touchpoints.
"This is particularly relevant during the sporting season as the demand for a superior viewing experience is triggered and customers look for advanced features such as a large screen and enhanced sound quality," he said. "Following this trend, we are targeting 25 percent growth in sales during the World Cup 2019 fuelled by the large screen sizes of 55 inches and above."
While none of the makers shared the number of units sold, they said the growth was much higher this year compared to the previous few seasons.
Large-screen TVs of established brands come in the price range of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.75 lakh.
However, some models are priced even higher. Recently, Samsung launched 8K UHD TV in the price range of Rs 10.99 lakh to Rs 59.99 lakh.
The Indian TV market is estimated at around 12.5 million sets a year and about 15 percent is contributed by large-screen sales.
LG is also witnessing a similar trend in its premium TV segment.
"For smart TV with ThinQ AI, we are targeting 35 percent growth and we are witnessing robust growth in sales. In fact, for OLED and NanoCell TV we are expecting 200 percent growth as consumers want best TV viewing experience to enjoy cricket season," an LG Electronics India spokesperson said.
Although offline channel's contribution is higher in this segment, online is also picking up.
"As far as large-screen sales are concerned, a larger portion of sale comes from offline. We are seeing big gains in offline but online is also gaining acceptance among consumers. We can see some sales jump happening on that side also," said Rai.
The companies are also investing in branding/promotions to keep the sales momentum going.
"As India progresses ahead in the tournament, we expect more people to upsize, which is why we have launched a host of offers for them including zero down payment finance options, 10-year no screen burn-in warranty on QLED TVs and two-year warranty on panels, up to 15 percent cashback, free Amazon Echo Plus with the premium QLED TV range and Amazon Echo Dot with the 4K UHD TV range," Bhutani said.
Rai added, "We have offers, which would make easy for the customers to purchase a large-screen TV. We have very attractive finance options and extended duration finance offers."
The ICC World Cup, being played in the UK, started on May 30. The finals will be played on July 14.