Focus shift in the sector pushes the demand for smart gadgets and grooming products

Focus shift in the sector pushes the demand for smart gadgets and grooming products

On March 25, India much like the world imposed a complete lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Most people were completely unprepared for what followed next. They had no option but to brace all the housework and cooking along with their work. The work from home lifestyle also brought with it challenges of managing house chores along with the office work.

Some of these changes are now becoming part of the new normal. According to experts the best example here is the reducing dependency on domestic help and becoming more self-sufficient with household chores with assistance from sophisticated appliances like dishwashers, vacuum cleaners etc. “People who were earlier not using such appliances have purchased these now and may continue using them even when the situation changes,” says Jürgen Wolf, Managing Director, Häfele South Asia.

It is hence not surprising to note that sales of kitchen appliance and smart gadgets started to boom as soon as the lockdown eased out.

Commenting on this Flipkart spokesperson shared, “At Flipkart, we have seen over 2.5X growth in June in kitchen appliances segment dominated by microwaves, juicer mixer grinder, hand blender, kettles, toaster, vacuum cleaners, OTG, water purifiers, etc. We have seen uptake from tier-II and beyond cities for these products with about 2X increase in demand coming from these markets.”

He further added, “Kitchen improvement has been a top priority for households ever since the curbs were eased. Consumers are seeking products that make their lives and time in the kitchen simpler and quicker. To that end, kitchen appliances, large and small, have witnessed a rise in demand, with a special focus on certain niche segments like automated or app-controlled products”.

Neeraj Bahl, MD & CEO, BSH Home Appliances, talking to Mumbai Live shared that. “Covid-19 has sparked demand for dishwashers. Since the lockdown, we have witnessed a surge in the demand for dishwashers and we expect to continue seeing this surge. In fact, we have already started receiving a lot of enquiries and booking for dishwashers. We have seen 20 per cent YTD compared to 2019 of approximately 60 days of not operating. Additionally, we have grown ~2X over this month last year”.

Sharath Nair, Business Chief - Lifestyle Business Group, Panasonic India also echoed the same sentiment as he shared that the increased demand for appliances across health & hygiene, cooking and grooming categories such as Vacuum cleaners, Microwaves and Trimmers. He also shared that Panasonic has registered an exponential increase for our trimmers and microwaves. Maharashtra which has been one of the worst impacted by Coronavirus has had similar uptake for products like the rest of India.

Nair further adds that “Social media is witness to individuals turning into chefs, grooming experts and donning more creative hats. Most people have utilized this time to learn something new and creative and gadgets have enabled this learning. Consumers are looking for products that bring a sense of security, allow them to do their tasks effortlessly and offer the best value to them”.

Not only smart appliances and kitchen gadgets have seen a surge in demand, but even coffee machines are witnessing a growth trend. With people now making their home their office, are also looking at how they can fix their perfect cup at home.

Commenting on this, Rahul Aggarwal, Founder, Cravium Gourmet said, “Our company markets the Coffeeza brand of coffee machines for lovers of gourmet barista-style coffee. Post-lockdown we have seen a spurt in orders to the tune of 5-10 per cent compared to pre-lockdown levels. We feel that consumers seem to be shopping more and more for appliances and gadgets which make WFH easier.”

Most companies are now looking at these changing trends as a business opportunity and launching new products that can satisfy the demand of the customers better.

Shedding more light on this, Gulbahar Taurani, Vice-President, Personal health, Philips Indian Subcontinent, said, “We are committed to providing our consumers with high-quality products, we recently added a new range of AirFryers built with fat removal technology that extracts and captures excess fat. It is perfectly designed to suit the modern-day requirements of our consumers and provide them with the utmost cooking experience”. He also maintained that Philips too has witnessed higher traction in some of our core categories like Mixer Grinder and Airfryer. Furthermore, the company also launched a digital campaign #MakeTheMostOfHome to cultivate healthy eating habits, encouraging our consumers to eat healthy home-made dishes using an innovative range of Philips kitchen appliances.

While June has been a good month in terms of sales, the big questions is that will this trend last or will it fizzle out now and regain momentum around the festive times.

Answering this, Nair from Panasonic India says, ”This normal is here to stay. Nearly three months under lockdown, consumers have increasingly become dependent on home appliances to become self-reliant. Whether it’s the large screen TVs (for bingeing on entertainment), ACs (WFH), WM, Dishwashers/ vacuum cleaners (domestic help), MWO & Kitchen appliances (cooking) and grooming range (self-care), the consumers are able to unlock their skills/hobbies. Therefore, my sense is that the idea of doing everything by oneself will stick for a longer period and massively reduce dependence on outsourcing, especially when it comes to chores like visiting salons.”

Wolf, from Häfele too is optimistic about the buying patterns of the consumers. He says, “Customer buying patterns have changed drastically in the last few months – bulk buying of groceries and other consumables has led to the realization among customers that kitchens and other areas of the home need clever and convenient storage spaces. People are more aware than ever to now have tall or larder units in kitchens to stock up consumables in bulk and with larger refrigerators for bulk cold storage. The other aspect that we are optimistically watching is the imminent increase in the demand for dishwashers and sophisticated laundry care appliances that can take the headache out of the hands of the customers and cater to their overall cleaning and hygiene needs”.

He further added, “Smart worktop appliances for food preparation like multi-purpose machines used for grinding, kneading, chopping, and blending are also going to be asked for increasingly now more than ever”.

The most common belief is that the virus has left a common mark in the minds of people. Even if there is a magic cure that we find and all this goes away what people may take as big learning from all this is the focus on living healthy and maintaining the highest standard of hygiene both personal and around us.  Bahl from BSH Home Appliances feels that “Even though things are slowly coming back to normal, people will be more cautious and inclined towards hygiene/cleanliness led productsCustomers will naturally shift to e-commerce now keeping in mind safety and avoid going to markets physically.”

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