2021 will be a year which will continue to be driven by Data & Digital: Deba Ghoshal

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – has been presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020. 

In conversation with Adgully, Deba Ghoshal, Vice President and Head of Marketing, Voltas, speaks about the significant shift witnessed in demand for Protection, Comfort, Convenience and Connectivity in cooling products and with the prioritize Data, Meaningful Content, Search & Social and much more. 

Outlook for 2021

Since the unlock phase started in the middle of 2020, and during the last festival period, besides “cooling” which has become a hygiene feature, we have witnessed a significant shift in demand for Protection, Comfort, Convenience and Connectivity in cooling products and home appliances. Our recent consumer survey on remote usage of ACs also reflects these trends. According to the survey, 73% of consumers used the Eco-Saver mode while working from home, indicating the rise in understandingof energy-efficient products. 83% of consumers are looking at advanced features such as Wi-Fi enabled ACs owing to WFH, signalling the importance of Smart & Connected ACs. Also, 71% of consumers understand the importance of the ‘Anti-fungal’ and ‘UV based’ features owing to the increase in demand for clean air. 

Being a leader in the market, we spotted these trends early on and have introduced products that cater to the new technology and health features. We have been the pioneers of products like Wi-Fi enabled ACs, which is India’s first voice control enabled AC that works with Alexa enabled devices. 

Some of our new range of products that are designed to provide preventive healthcare features include: Voltas PureAir Inverter AC and Voltas Alpha Fresh Air Cooler, both of which have air purification functions. The Voltas PureAir Inverter AC comes with state of the art UVC LED system, which quickly disinfects the indoor air by killing germs & pathogens. Furthermore, it has an Eco-friendly refrigerant, which makes it a smart and sustainable choice. 

Great Expectations 

In the Cooling space, as predicted by IMD, we expect a hot summer to drive the demand for our range of Air Conditioners, Air Coolers and Commercial Refrigeration products. In the Home Appliances space, under the Voltas Beko brand, besides Refrigerators and Washing Machines, in 2020, we also witnessed a good pickup for newer categories like Dishwashers and Washer dryers, which we expect will continue to gain popularity in 2021, with the hybrid work model; and since the market penetration is currently low for these new categories. In addition to these new categories, we also witnessed the Microwave category regaining momentum. Over the next 2-3 years, we expect a lot of traction coming in from the Tier 2 and 3 markets in particular, where we have the highest channel reach and market share as well. 

2021 will be a year which will continue to be driven by Data & Digital. Hence, from a consumer outreach perspective, our prioritisation will be for Data, Meaningful Content, Search and Social. With an omni-channel programmatic future in 2021, we will need to leverage a holistic media experience, which our consumers are seeking, and build meaningful brand promises around this. 

Key learnings from 2020

2020 was a year where we witnessed significant changes across Consumer Sentiments, Behaviour, Lifestyle, Life space and Consumption. And as a consumer durable brand, we kept pace with the changing scenario, in order to stay engaged with the consumer. 

Changing ConsumerBehaviour: Since last year, consumer behaviour was drastically impacted due to the pandemic situation and its ripples are still being witnessed. We have witnessed that consumers have been prioritising their expenses and investing in products that they deem necessary in the ‘new normal’. To remain relevant and drive purchases, brands had to upgrade technology and cater to the evolving needs of the consumer, and this had to be done within a very short time. 

Going Beyond Metros: Entry level products, as we have experienced with our range of products, work better in Tier 2 and 3 markets. This has helped us expand our market beyond metros and offer affordable and trusted products in mini-metros. 

Change in Marcom strategy: A holistic strategy to reach out to consumers has worked for us. It helped us focus on being accessible to our customers in the ways they expect us to be. As part of this approach, we adopted an Omni-channel strategy with equal emphasis on online as well as offline. This largely helped us to customise our approach to suit the different markets, in the rural as well as urban areas, across the country. 

Shift in POS (point-of-sale) preference: Both offline and online channels have emerged as preferred point of sale for consumer durables. A lot of search is done online, before deciding the final model or the brand. This trend will continue for high ticket consumer durables for times to come. In order to drive market share, brands need to be present, and be preferred, across all channels.


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