Buoyed by surging sales, how the air cooler sector is looking for a strong revival in 2021
With summer temperatures soaring, demand for cooling devices is on the rise again. The partial lockdowns and strict COVID-19 protocols in place again due to the current rise in the number of fresh cases have also confined people to their homes. While the global pandemic took everyone unawares in 2020, this year, brands, the retail sector and consumers are better prepared.
Air cooler and air-conditioner sales are set to see an uptake this year. A large part of the air-cooler market comprises the unorganised sector, however, leading brands like Crompton, Symphony, Orient, Bajaj, Havells, etc. are making major inroads, offering compact models with better features, stylish designs and well-engineered for longevity and saving power.
According to industry estimates, the organised air cooler industry is pegged at over Rs 2,600 crore in terms of value and it was estimated to have sold close to 3 million units in 2019-20. Starting from tomorrow, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has come at an opportune time for brands, and several air cooler brands have drawn up aggressive plans to leverage the tournament. Heavily disrupted by the pandemic and lockdowns, which affected the supply chain and distribution, consumer durables saw strong recovery during the unlock period, especially during the festive season last year.
Though partial lockdown has been imposed in several cities and some states, brands are better prepared this year and are laying a strong emphasis on the e-commerce route as the retail sector might face some disruptions again. Working from home again, consumer demand is expected to see a spurt as now they can plan out their purchases in a better way, having learnt from last year.
The positive consumer sentiments have made brands very optimistic about this season after the blackout last year. According to some industry experts, all indications suggest that the summer of 2021 will be a fairly a good season with buoyancy in the market. Adgully reached out to some of the industry experts to find out on how they plan to counter this hot summer season and regain the lost ground.
Saurabh Baishakhia, President - Appliances, Usha International, noted, “While industries across the board were impacted due to COVID-19, it also opened doors for opportunities and innovation for the consumer durables industry. With the increasing temperature and expected heatwaves, we expect the growth momentum to gain pace in the summer months, especially for air coolers, given that over 50% of the population is continuing to work from home.”
Speaking about Usha’s strategy, Baishakhia said, “We are focused on omni-channel growth through online and offline routes, along with further strengthening our rural presence. We already have a very robust air-coolers offering and will be further adding to our portfolio across capacities (30/ 50/ 70/ 100 liters) to cater to the diverse needs of our customers. As digital adoption and transformation accelerates, we expect to double our online sales of air-coolers. We are expecting the cooling industry to grow well with an overall increase of 30-40% for Usha and 25-30% for the industry this year. We will also be focusing on sellout and marketing activities in the retail and digital space.”
Sachin Phartiyal, Vice President, Appliance Business - Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd, too, said that while the cooler industry was severely hit due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown in 2020, the market has picked up in recent months and the outlook remains positive overall for cooling products. “We are confident that this trend will continue and with temperatures predicted to reach a record high in this year, the air cooler category will witness record breaking sales. Although prices have increased this year owing to the raw material cost increase, we have not seen a slowdown in purchases across the industry. Additionally, to build a stronger connect with the consumers this summer, Crompton has released a new TVC for the Optimus Coolers range, highlighting how our coolers can provide Jaldi Cooling even on the hottest day,” he added.
Along similar lines, Anshuman Chakravarty, Head - Brand & Corporate Communication, Orient Electric, said that sales certainly took a hit across the industry last year during the peak season in the light of the lockdown. However, some good traction was witnessed in terms of sales post unlock on the back of pent-up and festive demand.
Sounding optimistic, Chakravarty said, “We are now looking ahead at Q1 FY22 and are expecting strong demand for coolers against the backdrop of a sweltering summer, improving consumer sentiment and continuance of work from home culture. We have geared up for the season with new launches in line with our strategy to provide consumers with innovative products which are healthier, safer, energy-efficient, and add convenience to life. We have created strong differentiators in our product offerings by introducing Aerofan technology for fresh air circulation, 50% energy-saving Inverter air coolers, IoT-enabled and voice-controlled air coolers, and metal-bodied outdoor air coolers.”
“Our air cooler campaign was on television during the India-England cricket series, which has increased the brand saliency. We are also planning to be strongly present on digital and reach out to your audience through vernacular medium and also support it with retail advertisements,” he further said.