- After the lockdown froze the sales of the cooling products last summer, Voltas witnessed a good come-back during the festive period due to pent-up demand.
- Pradeep Bakshi, Managing Director and CEO, Voltas Limited is confident that this trend will continue in 2021 and help them achieve a double digit growth.
- He shares how the brand has managed to stick to its leadership position despite the curveballs that COVID has sent its way and his plan to expand its market share this year.
According to Motilal Oswal Research study, Indian Room AC market has grown at ~10% CAGR (in volume) over FY10–20 and Voltas is the leading player in the market.
The Indian AC industry is sized at Rs 180–200 billion. According to Tech Scientific data, it is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 17%, to surpass $ 11 billion by 2023. However, the air conditioning and cooling products market was adversely affected in the first half of last year due to the nation-wide lockdown, with sales coming to a grinding halt during the category’s peak season. AC is a highly seasonal sales product and it sees its peak during the March-June period.
However, despite the Covid-induced speedbump, Voltas was able to maintain its leadership position in the AC category, thanks to the resurgence of demand during the festive season.
“We are delighted to report that despite the pandemic situation, we maintained our market leadership with a 26% market share in the room air conditioners category. The Cooling Products business made good recovery, post easing of the lockdown situation. As of last quarter, we achieved a YoY growth of 46% over the same quarter (non-covid period) of the previous year,” shared Pradeep Bakshi, Managing Director and CEO, Voltas Limited.
Voltas earned Rs 28,516 million revenue last year, as per Motilal Oswal. The brand maintained its leadership position, followed by Daikin at Rs 26,166 million. Voltas is hoping to see a similar momentum this year as well.
Sharing his outlook for this year, Bakshi added, “The performance of the Air cooler vertical too has been satisfactory with a growth of 11% over the previous year. Based on latest market share figures, we are now at the number two position overall. We expect this momentum to continue in the next few quarters. Overall, I am optimistic about double-digit industry growth this summer.”
Elaborating on why Voltas is optimistic about seeing a double digital growth, Bakshi said, “This summer, we are already witnessing a robust demand for Room Air Conditioners and our range of Cooling products like Air Coolers and Commercial Refrigeration products. This is due to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) forecast of a strong summer this year, across most regions of India. The work-from-home hybrid routine is expected to continue for some more time, thus leading consumers to continue looking for home appliances and cooling products that help with the burden of household chores, and make their work-from-home scenario more comfortable."
Marketing strategy this year
In line with the motto of ‘Keeping India Cool’ since 1954 and being the ‘cooling experts of India,’ Voltas recently launched its Air Cooler campaign ‘Ab Garmi Ke Mazey Lo, Bina Garmi Ke.’
The campaign taps into the emotions of Indian summer and highlights that with Voltas’ Air Fresh Coolers, the consumers can enjoy all the good things that summer season brings along, and say goodbye to heat, humidity and sweat. And this year, Voltas is spending 25% of its marketing monnies on digital media. To increase its affinity and sales further, Voltas will stick to a 360-degree approach.
“We, at Voltas, believe in having a holistic 360° strategy, where we focus on being accessible to our customers in multiple formats. As part of this, we have adopted an Omni-channel strategy with an emphasis on offline as well as online channels. This largely helps us customise our approach to suit the different markets in the rural, as well as urban areas, across the country. With consumers at the centre of our universe, our marketing initiatives have always included campaigns that can easily identify with consumers. We have a record of demystifying technologies and creating meaningful campaigns, which stay relevant for the consumers for years. We will continue to have the highest Share of Voice in the Cooling products category, with a heavy presence across electronic media. Further, keeping in mind the trend of consumer media habit consumption, over 25% of our Advertising spends will be on Digital,” said Bakshi.
Vision for 2021
According to Motilal Oswal research study, India’s AC industry is highly competitive, with 35–40 brands playing the penetration story in India. The Top 6 players enjoy 75–80% market share. So, there’s still a huge scope for Voltas to grow further. It also outsources 40% of its services and Indian companies are working towards minimising their dependence on external sources and imports.
Sharing the brand’s strategy to increase its market share this year, Bakshi said, “Voltas has strengthened its market leadership with close to 26% market share in the Room Air conditioners. And we are not just ramping up production in our existing factories in Pantnagar, Waghodia and Sanand but also working towards enhancing the production capacity of Air Conditioners through another plant in the Southern region of the country. So, for the upcoming summer season, we expect more traction in urban and mini-metros, due to the high level of penetration of branded cooling products in these markets. To address this growing demand, we have taken some key steps like shifting stocking focus to high demand goods, penetration in more rural, less affected zones and increasing the manufacturing capacities. As the pace of electrification increases and the expected trickle-down effect on consumer durables is likely to be witnessed, given the increasing disposable incomes, demand from rural as well as Tier 2 and 3 cities will also increase.”
The brand has opened new shops in Tier II and III cities. It aims to drive the highest distribution reach and market share across all Tiers of population strata and strengthen its leadership position in urban and semi-urban areas this year.