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issue: September 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

New Delhi Report
Indian Air-Conditioner Producers Are Prospering


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Temperatures soar in Indian cities and air-conditioner sales have picked up like never before.

Global warming has turned out to be advantageous for Indian air-conditioner manufacturers. As temperatures soar in Indian cities, air-conditioner sales have picked up like never before. To add to the temperatures of 40 degrees C, finance companies are offering consumers easy finance options. As a result, HVAC companies are recording high sales growth this year.

During the last 4 years, air-conditioner sales among the middle-class segment of the population in urban India has increased significantly. Households with annual incomes of about Rs 150,000 (U.S. $3,250) are now contributing to one-fourth of all air-conditioner sales. In 1999, room air-conditioners purchased by lower income households comprised 17.6 percent of total sales. This increased to 23.6 percent in 2002. While easy finance is certainly giving a huge push to air-conditioner sales, the declining prices of the appliances have also led to this trend. Today, no-frills air-conditioner models are available for as low as Rs 15,000 ($325). According to one survey, Indian cities with populations of between 100,000 and 1 million are the biggest consumers of air-conditioners today, as demand in these cities is much higher than that in the larger cities.

While air-conditioners are clearly a big hit with Indian households, washing machines have failed to attract Indian buyers of appliances. Growth rates of washing machines continue to lag at around 5 to 6 percent, even though many large appliance makers have cut prices. Manufacturers are also trying to lure consumers by offering easy finance options. The total washing machine market was 950,000 units in 2002 and is expected to reach the 1-million mark in 2003. The total drop in prices has been in the range of 7 to 8 percent. Semi-automatic machines constitute more than 80 percent of total washing machine sales. Fully automatic machines have actually recorded a decline in sales recently.

This report is filed by Adite Chatterjee, New Delhi correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine.

 

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