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issue: July 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

New Delhi Report
India’s Refrigerator Market Comes to Life


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by Adite Chatterjee, India Correspondent

The Indian appliance market is bristling with new launches, especially in the refrigerator category.

Recent months have seen several major refrigerator product launches by leading players, among them Whirlpool, Samsung and Kelvinator. While each company introduced models reflecting their brand philosophies and marketing strategies, they are similar in wooing buyers with international features. Kelvinator, emerging from under Electrolux ownership as an independent brand, is all set to reinvent itself as the “coolest one,” as its advertising tagline goes.
Kelvinator is positioned as a mass-market refrigerator brand, but will launch high-end models, as well, to enhance its brand image. The biggest revenue-earning segment for Kelvinator refrigerators is the direct-cool segment.
Kelvinator is now one of the brands in the portfolio of Indian appliance company Videocon International. The Kelvinator brand name still has a strong resonance with Indian consumers and, backed by a strategy of value-for-money pricing, it is expected to give the Korean brands a run for their money. The brand is expected to notch up sales of Rs 3 billion (approx. U.S. $65 million) in its first year after the relaunch. Videocon says the strategy is to “leverage the brand image of Kelvinator to generate business without getting into price wars.”
You can trust the Korean brands to up the marketing stakes every season. And they have done it this year too. Samsung launched a range of 10 new refrigerator models and introduced its side-by-side refrigerator in the Indian market. The models offer twin cooling systems using two different evaporators and fans to supply cold air to the refrigeration compartment and the freezer. Though such models have been available in the high-end refrigerator segment in India, this is the first time that a popular appliance marketer is offering the features.
Samsung now has 27 models of frost-free refrigerators priced between Rs 12,500 (approx. $273) and Rs 135,000 (approx. $2,945). The company will focus on the markets in the southern part of the country, as executives with the company say the southern region is fast-emerging as the key appliance consuming region. The sales contribution of southern India to Samsung’s revenues has risen from 24 percent to 31 percent.
Not one to lose an opportunity, the company has lined up 11 “Dream Home” road shows in the region this year, and is strengthening its retail presence in the south.
The German brand Siemens has also launched a side-by-side refrigerator. The 600-L model includes a freezer with a capacity of 210-L. Other features include a water and ice dispenser, child lock and audible open-door alarm. The refrigerator is priced at Rs 125,000 (approx. $2,725).
Whirlpool is aggressively targeting the refrigerator category with its new Delight frost-free refrigerators, introduced in eight models in 230-L, 260-L and 300-L capacities. They are priced between Rs 11,500 (approx. $250) and Rs 19,500 (approx. $425). A unique feature is LED lighting, a white light that is “evenly distributed and optimally positioned” to enable the contents of the refrigerator to be clearly visible even when it is fully loaded. Another Whirlpool refrigerator, Fusion, is a direct-cool appliance available in two models, designed to operate even with an irregular power supply, which is a common problem in many Indian cities.
Clearly, as temperatures soar, manufacturers of refrigerators are expecting to see brisk sales.

 

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