With rising temperature and surging COVID-19 cases in the country expected to keep people indoors for longer, consumers are increasingly seeking cooling appliances, including refrigerators, air conditioners and coolers, to create a comfortable environment at home, says e-commerce giant Flipkart.
"The current heat wave along with the pandemic has almost tripled the demand for cooling appliances which includes ACs, refrigerators, coolers and fans since January this year. While ACs witnessed a rise of 4x in demand, the rest of the categories saw 2.5x, 3x and 2x increase respectively," says Hari G. Kumar, Vice-President, Large Appliances at Flipkart.
With people continuing to stay indoors to fight the pandemic, consumer preferences for these appliances have changed drastically. "Increased focus on health and hygiene and cost savings have led to customers opting for products with anti-bacterial, air purification and energy-efficient properties with an increasing number of customers opting for COVID ACs. While these functionalities existed even before COVID, it is witnessing greater traction since the pandemic with the growing focus on air quality," adds Kumar. According to a survey done on Flipkart, in-built air purifier was one of the top preference of customers.
Flipkart is witnessing a 2.5x jump in demand for energy-efficient and convertible refrigerator variants offering higher storage, along with multi-functional features such as curd maker, since January. "As the usage of freezer is limited in India as compared with other parts of the world, convertible options are witnessing greater adoption which transforms the freezer section into a normal fridge. This apart, customers are seeking appliances with higher storage space as they continue to work and learn from home for a longer period of time," says Kumar.
In terms of geographies, the above-mentioned trends are not only concentrated in metros but smaller cities and tier-2 and 3 cities are also contributing to this growth. This indicates a change in sentiment and buying preference in the smaller towns.
According to Flipkart, consumers are considering cost saving in a big way and are opting for energy-efficient ACs and refrigerators to save on electricity bills and reduce cost of operations. While the demand for 5-star high capacity, high energy-efficient ACs jumped 40 per cent, refrigerators also saw a similar trend.
Furthermore, Flipkart has registered a higher percentage of customers opting for replacement options while purchasing a refrigerator since the launch of product replacement construct on the platform. The e-commerce giant has also seen an almost 20 per cent increase in adoption of 'No Cost EMI' since the pandemic.
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