Pandemic brings kitchen appliance sales back to last year's level by volume

S Subramanian, managing director, Preethi Kitchen Appliances, says the surge in demand has compelled brands to meet higher service and quality standards. | Representative image
Kitchens have become busier than ever as people spend more time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The trend has propelled the growth of small appliances including products such as ovens, toasters, grillers, blenders, induction cookers, pressure cookers and mixer-grinders. Players, say experts, are back to last year's levels in terms of volume sales, with demand continuing to surge.

"Demand is not a problem at all. The challenge is how do you fulfil it because there are localised lockdowns in a few places. Having said that, the industry is back to last year's numbers, since June. July was down slightly due to the localised lockdowns, but August should see good growth for the industry," Anuj Poddar, executive director, Bajaj Electricals, says.

T T Jagannathan, chairman, TTK Prestige says that with lower dependence on domestic help, people are cooking more themselves, fueling the growth of kitchen appliances. Daily sales at the company are back to what existed before the lockdown and revenue share from e-commerce has doubled, he said.

"Over the medium to long-term, we expect overall revenue to grow in double digits, with the kitchen appliances category expected to grow fastest in the product portfolio," Jagannathan said.

A report by brokerage ICICI Direct says that Prestige Smart Kitchen stores, which are the company's exclusive outlets, have seen a sharp surge in average daily sales in June, as people sought to buy products of their choice with the Unlock programme kicking in. The trend, the brokerage says, has continued into July and August and is expected to last as consumers remain confined at home.

Sector analysts say that most players are running at full steam in terms of capacity, with most struggling to catch up with demand. Ganesh Chathurthi began on Saturday, kicking off the three-month festive season, which will culminate with Diwali in November. Small appliances are typically brought in large numbers during the festive season as gifting items, experts said.

S Subramanian, managing director, Preethi Kitchen Appliances, says the surge in demand has compelled brands to meet higher service and quality standards.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as well as the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) have raised their standards significantly, say experts, forcing players to reassess their product portfolios before it is pushed into the market.

Poddar says that the quality and energy standards kick in from October 1, implying that most companies are racing against time to meet the deadline.

"If I have to catch the festive consumer in September-October, my products have to be shipped into the market in August with the quality standards in place. However, officials of the BIS and BEE have been unable to certify products, since many labs have not opened up yet due to the vertical lockdowns," Poddar says.

Despite the challenges, experts say that FY21 will go down as a strong year for kitchen appliance makers, owing to the triggers of growth in the marketplace. According to industry estimates, the kitchen appliances market is pegged at Rs 20,000 crore, including organised and unorganised players. While the market remains largely fragmented, experts say that the share of organised players, including regional and national, is around 60 per cent. The unorganised segment is 40 per cent in size.

Subramanian says that e-commerce is emerging as a strong sales channel due to the pandemic, with players now increasingly reaching out to consumers using digital tools.
Market size: Kitchen appliances

Total size (India): Rs 20,000 crore

Organised: 60%

Unorganised: 40%

Volume sales back to last year’s levels, since June
  • July slightly down due to vertical lockdowns
  • August looking up as demand continues

Source: Industry

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