Believe it or not, there’s a waiting period for air conditioners and refrigerators this summer. Retailers are facing a supply problem for the first time on the back of unanticipated demand, with delays running into two to four days or even more. March and April reported record sales of the two appliances — an over 25% growth year-on-year. In fact, the two months’ sales equal almost one-third the total sales made in the calendar year 2016, driven by demand from the north, west and south. Last year, air conditioners and refrigerators grew by 15% and 10% respectively. “There is a shortage of popular variants like 1.5 ton air conditioners, entry-level models and even inverter air conditioners for some brands, since a large number of parts is still imported,” said Kamal Nandi, business head, Godrej Appliances. Kim Ki-Wan, India managing director, LG Electronics, said the company has missed out on an additional sales opportunity since no one foresaw such high demand. LG Electronics AC sales grew 45% in March-April, while refrigerator sales went up by 20%. Samsung also saw more than 20% growth in these two categories. Voltas grew by 30% and is confident about overtaking the previous fiscal’s performance with 25% growth. Online marketplaces such as Amazon had a record year, with 250% growth in AC sales — compared to 80% growth last year — and refrigerator sales expanding 200%. Suchit Subhas, director (category management for large appliances), Amazon India said the marketplace has invested in nine dedicated fulfilment centres for these products to deliver within one or two days. He said Amazon has been able to ensure sufficient inventory with respect to demand on the basis of advance planning with brands since November- December 2016. Rajiv Kenue, chief operating officer, online exclusive brand Kenstar, said the company has increased sales of air conditioners by 200% since January and its recent foray into refrigerators too has been successful.
(Courtesy: The Economic Times, Mumbai, May 10, 2017)