Calcutta, Sept. 29: The Rs 48,000-crore consumer durables industry is banking on freebies and discounts in the festive season to shrug off the recent sales slowdown caused by the depreciating rupee, high inflation rate and price pressures.
“In spite of the weak consumer sentiment, no company wants to go slow on launches and promotions. What matters in business, especially when markets go weak, is the perception and visibility of the brand. Companies will continue to launch products in these markets, but it is likely to be fewer compared with the previous years. Thus, the premium category will not lose its significance in smaller markets,” said Manish Sharma, managing director, Panasonic India.
Panasonic’s festive offers in the east started from September 19 and will go on to November 10. The company plans to invest Rs 75 crore towards marketing and promotions this festive season and is expecting a 20 per cent growth over last year across all product categories. It is offering customers assured gifts on purchase of any product and will provide a 3-year warranty on Viera TVs.
According to Sharma, the recent RBI crackdown on zero per cent interest schemes will dampen demand.
Zero per cent finance offers constitute approximately 35-40 per cent of total sales in the industry, of which 15 per cent are through credit cards. Total sales generated using credit cards across India are around 10 per cent.
LG India has started festive campaigns and is offering easy financing schemes. It has also lined up a few product launches. Its marketing initiatives include a mix of digital marketing, in-shop promotion and a go-to-market strategy.
According to Gaurav Gupta, senior director of Deloitte in India, this year will be difficult for consumer durables firms as they have not been able to pass on the rise in product prices to customers entirely.
With almost 40 per cent of annual sales happening at this time of year, companies will come up with bundled and exchange offers. However, there surely is a limit to what they can do, believes Gupta.
Samsung has launched Samsung Home, Happy Home offer with a gift on the purchase of any product.
This ranges from a Samsung Galaxy Tab210, Air Track home theatre and instant cash back with Samsung LED or plasma panel TVs.
According to Atul Jain, senior vice-president (consumer electronics), Samsung India, sales of consumer durables have seen a healthy growth in the first half of the year, driven by the premium segment.
“We hope that the consumer sentiment is not impacted,’ he said.
LG feels the festive season if important for the industry as customers make most of their gadget purchase during this time of the year.
“We are optimistic that the festive season will help in improving customer spirits and sentiments. This season we are looking at an innovative approach for our marketing campaigns and increase visibility through in store branding and BTL (below the line) advertising,” said Sanjay Chitkara, head (corporate marketing), LG India.
Sony India is eyeing Rs 400 crore business with 30 per cent growth during Durga Puja. It plans to sell 85,000 units of Bravia and 50,000 units of Cyber Shots between August and November.
It will provide cases worth Rs 2,990 with Xperia Z Ultra, cases worth Rs 1,990 with Xperia Z and Xperia SP and headphones worth Rs 1,490 with Xperia E.