In the backdrop of early summers and pent-up demand, Panasonic is expecting a robust demand for cooling appliances. During the last 3-4 months, the company has witnessed a 25 per cent growth in sales of air conditioners.
"We expect the trend to continue and are aiming to close Q4 registering more than 100 per cent growth (QoQ). In the case of refrigerators, we are expecting to record a growth of 30 per cent in refrigerators this summer. For the year ending March 31, 2021 we are expecting a growth of more than 40 per cent across consumer durables compared to 2019 (year ending March 31, 2020). We are hoping for this trend to continue," says Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India and SA.
Sharma explains that the pandemic has made consumers conscious of their purchases. The value proposition in the form of safety, comfort, convenience and a connected experience is what consumers are looking for while purchasing their appliance. "With the emergence of the second wave, the demand for overall home appliances category will continue to rise coupled with the pent-up demand from last year. Enablers such as no-cost EMI, cashback, easy accessibility will further fuel this demand for value proposition purchases."
However, given the market trends, Panasonic India plans to raise prices of ACs in the range of 6-8 per cent, while refrigerators will see an increase in the range of 3-4 per cent. This is due to the rise in production cost because of increasing cost of commodities in the last few months. "However, with the kind of growth we have witnessed in the last few months, we are positive that the trajectory will remain steady and consistent. At an organizational level, we try and absorb maximum costs at our end and not pass it to our consumers," explains Sharma.
With improving supply chain efficiencies, lifting of import restrictions and progressive steps towards component manufacturing, 'shortage of components' will not be a long-term issue for the industry. To address the growing demand for cooling products across rural and urban consumers, Panasonic has stocked inventory and is taking marketing initiatives across offline and online channels. To further facilitate purchase experience for partners and customers, it has opened up WhatsApp Chatbot platform.
Due to the pandemic, lockdown and other factors, the consumer durable industry witnessed an overall loss of around 25 per cent. Panasonic registered 10 per cent growth in July-September 2020, with August contributing significantly owing to the Onam festival campaign. Besides, consumer durable sales have resumed normalcy since Q3. "Led by pent-up demand, 'Home-as-hub' trend and optimal weather conditions - we are now seeing an uptick in sales. However, we are yet to close our financials for this quarter and will get a better view on 'sales recovery' post that," says Sharma.
The Japanese consumer durable brand manufactures almost all of its appliances in India at its Technopark plant in Jhajjar, Haryana. Currently, the company is well-equipped to meet the demand of its consumers, as per Sharma.