The Rise Of The Kitchen-Appliances
Indian kitchens are no longer a sacred place, women want to flaunt their kitchens to their guests and friends and this trend is catching up pretty rapidly, especially in the urban segment.
Kitchens are emerging from their traditional boxes to become places for interaction and there are influences, both local and global, that are driving this transformation. "The kitchen appliances market is pegged at Rs 700 crore in India and is growing at 30 to 40 per cent," says Sanjeev Dayal, CMO, Kaff Appliances. The entire market is satiated with brands offering varied products.
Chimneys and cook-tops have been an integral part of the kitchen for a long time now. Of late, we have seen an increased demand for appliances such as dish washers, induction hobs, coffee makers, wine coolers and high-end refrigerators. This change in customer preference has, in turn, led to the influx of many high-end brands in the market. There is a growing interest for new-age products such as microwave ovens and refrigerators. Today, while there is a significant increase in the purchasing power, consumers are looking for 'value options' that are increasingly becoming 'price plus', i.e., an option which balances the variables of price, quality, convenience, consistency and innovation. The current trend in India is that young couples are buying their own home early in life and moving away from their parents. Often both are working and do not necessarily have full-time help at home. This has lead to a rise in interest in labour-saving appliances such as larger freezers, dishwashers and washer-dryers.
The entire kitchen appliances segment has over 200 brands in India, including well established global brands such as Philips, Inalsa, Black and Decker, Morphy Richards, Faber, Siemens, Bosch, and domestic biggies like TTK Prestige, Bajaj and Maharaja to name a few. Brands are making more customised products with emphasis on technology, quality, innovation and value combined with better after-sales services to enter the Indian kitchens. With only a very small percentage of the over 250 million households in the country using these modern appliances, the scope for further penetration is apparent.
According to leading research analysts, the branded goods market has expanded at a significant pace of over 20 per cent and is expected to retain the momentum going forward as well. The entry of over a dozen new brands has further intensified the competition as players vie to grab a pie of the expanding market. While focus on price competency remains a key priority, players have also started focusing on other product features such as safety and total cost of ownership of the device.
With the changing transition of lifestyle in the country, food habits and preferences are part of this evolution. "The recent Electrolux Asian Food Survey 2010 revealed that the vast majority of people worry about health when cooking a meal at home. Chronic disease and obesity are on the rise in the country so it is with little wonder that health and nutrition have become top priorities when dining, " says Vishal Raman, senior national business development manager, Electrolux. A microwave oven doesn't heat up your kitchen the way a traditional oven or a regular cook-top does and unlike boiling or frying, nutrients in foods are retained. The likes of Timbor Home, have recently introduced a new range of titanium cookware which is vacuumatic. The interesting feature about this product is that one is required to use minimal amount of oil and water while cooking, and it keeps the taste as well as nutrients of the food intact.
Others in the industry like Haeir and LG have come up with products which maintain the nutrient quotient in the food. "Haier's 'Combi Cooking' option allows faster cooking of multiple food items, reheating of food items to perfection without destroying food cells," says Shanta Roy Sanjeev, head - marketing, Haier India. Similarly LG has come up with 'Healthy Fry' option wherein the consumers can cook recipes in very less quantity of oil.
Indianising The Products
Electrolux has products that are particularly well-suited for India. For instance, it imports built-in fridges that are fully tropicalised and can withstand the tropical Indian summers. "We have hobs with open trivets and safety flame devices with high suction hoods with boost power to deal with the hot oil and aromatic masalas," adds Raman. The newly launched range of Convection & Grilled Microwave Oven by Haier India has unique features with over 40 Indian auto-cook menus. "The 'Stainless Steel Cavity' adds durability and protective qualities to the microwave. The stainless steel interiors are more scratch resistant and are easier to clean" says Shanta Roy.
Localisation is an important aspect to ensure brands reach out to most of the consumers. Domestic brands definitely have an edge over these brands when it comes to aligning the products to suit customer trends yet the technological advances of the former give them enough impetus to build on. "Our flagship Charcoal Series comes with the new charcoal range, the consumer can cook and relish naans, missi roti, appam also deep fried foods like samosas, gujias, aloo chips, etc," says YV Verma, director-Home Appliances, LG India
With a modern consumer-base comes a modern mindset, which bodes well for the environmental aspect of the country. Electrolux washing machines come with cold wash options which help you save energy and jet systems that save water. Their induction hobs are also 40 per cent more energy efficient than normal cooktops.
As for Haier, its commitment toward supporting the environment is highlighted with its new range of eco-friendly kitchen appliances. "The newly launched eco-friendly offerings from Haier include refrigerators, semi and fully automatic washing machines come with salient features like silent operation and low energy consumption," Shanta Roy added.
Looking at the entire picture of the appliances segment in country, brands need to realise that the only way to make themselves visible in the market is to widen their network with retail outlets across the country. "Retail space should be utilised extensively to showcase the largest range of products, enabling brands to get better visibility," says Anant Maloo, CMD, Timber Home Pvt. Ltd.
For instance, Haier makes its products available at exclusive brand stores -'Haier Experience Centres/Haier Experience Zones' across the country. These centres are aimed at providing consumers an international shopping experience showcasing the latest in technology, innovation and design with complete range of their products. Haier has 167 Haier Experience centres/zones across India and it plans to expand the reach further. As for Kaff, it has around 3,500 outlets across pan-India with 168 exclusive Kaff Experience Zones and the rest being handled through distributors from all corners. LG Electronics also has a vast presence across 22,500 retail outlets in the country.
The current penetration in the appliances segment in the country is miniscule and experts believe this will gradually grow. With increased urbanisation and increase in disposable income, there is a vast opportunity for appliance manufacturers to tap the growing market. One can be rest assured of the fact that the market potential is encouraging and times ahead will prove the obvious sooner than later.
-- Aadeetya.S, EFYTimes News Network