The scorching summer heat and a slight delay in monsoon have sent sales of all summer products from air-conditioners and refrigerators to soft drinks and ice-creams soaring across the country, after two years of subdued demand. Marketers of summer products including Voltas, Panasonic, Godrej, Amul, Bisleri, Parle Agro and PepsiCo report rising sales from across the country on the back of blazing summer and improved consumer sentiment. Air-conditioner sales volumes have risen this season after two years of fl at to negative growth, bringing cheer to an industry that has been struggling with poor consumer sentiments, rising prices due to rupee’s devaluation and erratic weather in recent times. According to data from market tracker GfK-Nielsen, sales of air-conditioners and refrigerators increased 15% and 23%, respectively, year-on-year in April. Top white goods makers said there was similar volume growth in May as well and that there are signs of a market revival with improved consumer sentiment. Trade sources said the sudden spurt in demand surprised white goods makers who were expecting another tough year after 8%-20% increase in prices triggered by upgradation in energy rating norms in January. Chief of a leading durable retailer said that all players, including LG and Samsung, had lowered their production of cooling appliances this year after last two years of poor sales, but are now boosting capacity due to the sales pick-up. The April-June period accounts for almost 60% of the annual sales of ACs and refrigerators. The blazing summer has also boosted seasonal FMCG items such as icecream, juices and packaged water. Amul, the country’s largest dairy products brand, saw its ice-cream sales grow 23% by volume in April-May compared to 7% growth during the summer of last year when monsoon rains came early. Its beverages segment too has grown over 50%. Godrej Appliances said the firm’s AC sales have soared 70% year-on-year this season and refrigerator sales are up 35%. (Source: The Economic Times, June 3, 2014)
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