It was a mixed bag for appliance manufacturers in Kerala during Onam 2020. Industry officials told Moneycontrol that the lockdown led to disruptions in sales in some parts of the state, though overall sales were better than previous months.
Onam kicks off the festive sales season in India. Sales during the 10-day festival offers a glimpse of how the rest of the festive season could pan out for consumer durables firms. The 10-day Onam festivities began on August 22 and will continued till September 2.
Industry sources said that while the sales number was lower than last year, it was better than the gloomy expectations.
“We were expecting close to Rs 800 crore of sales. But the actual figure is only around Rs 500 crore. In 2017, it was Rs 770 crore. But from April to June there was barely any sales, so this is a good number,” said the head of consumer appliances at a mid-size white goods firm.
The white goods market in India, currently worth about Rs 50,000 crore, is growing around 15 percent every year.
Every year, sales worth Rs 3,000 crore are clocked between August and December when India celebrates festivals like Onam, Dussehra, Diwali, and Christmas.
Eric Braganza, President, Haier India, told Moneycontrol that despite various parts of Kerala being under lockdown because of the pandemic during Onam, sales in the region have been positive
He did not share the exact numbers but said that the brand saw the highest sales for their television range in August, despite an ample amount of shops remaining closed due to the restrictions and lockdowns.
“With the economy slowly coming back to normal and Onam kick-starting the festive season in India, we’re optimistic of a good festive season sale ahead and revival of the consumer durables industry at large,” he added.
With respect to the products, television was the number one product category followed by refrigerators and washing machine. The regional vice president (south) of a pan-India appliance maker said TV sales have seen a growth due to the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season.
"Unlike previous years when spectators could go to watch a match, COVID-19 has moved IPL to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Now that customers are working from home, the demand for televisions to watch these cricket matches is higher. Discounts during Onam also boosted sales," he added.
Moneycontrol had reported how erratic store timings and sudden lockdowns had impacted appliance sales ahead of the Onam season. This meant that customers would have to rely on buying online, a process which everyone is not comfortable with.
“Online sales picked up during Onam but products like refrigerators and televisions are such that customers want to touch and feel the appliance before purchase. Hence, store sales lost out in several districts,” said Kochi-based dealer Ganesh Kumar Nair.
Unlike other states, Kerala had announced a triple lockdown. Triple lockdown means one for containment zones, one for clusters of COVID-19 where patients are staying in quarantine, and, the third, for households/buildings of those infected and their contacts.