Durables, electronics performing well in India

15 December 2009

NEW DELHI: Consumer durables and electronics companies like Whirlpool, Samsung and LG are all optimistic about their prospects in India, where the economic downturn has played less of a role than elsewhere.

Whirlpool, the home appliances specialist, has adopted a flexible approach to price in the Asian nation, launching a phased increase of 4% between July and September last year, and then a similar decrease this year.

During the up-coming holiday period, it will again raise the price of certain goods by 2%, largely as a result of climbing commodity costs, but is confident this will not impact its performance.

Shantanu Dasgupta, vp of corporate affairs and strategy at the multinational operator, said "consumers had started to down trade but only for a short time."

"For instance, more people were buying direct cool refrigerators instead of frost-free. But that lasted for the first four to five months of this year. Now things are back to normal."

In a similar fashion, R Zutshi, deputy managing director, Samsung India, said "this year from January to March we could see buyers down trading. For instance, instead of buying large-sized LCDs people were buying slightly smaller ones."

However, the local arm of the Korean firm forecasts it will generate 55% of annual returns in the second half of 2009, having seen figures rise by 40% in October.  

LG Electronics also predicts its revenues for the three months from September will stand at 2,800 crore rupees ($599m; €410m; £369m), an improvement of more than a third year-on-year.

For the full year, it also expects totals to reach 11,500 crore rupees, up from 10,000 crore rupees over 2008 as a whole.

Amitabh Tiwari, its consumer electronics business head, argued "last year, consumer sentiment was bad. But it has improved substantially now."

"So, we are spending 110 crore rupees this festive season for advertising and promotions during the festive months, up from 68 crore rupees last year."

"We are looking at launching a new range of products and investing in more television commercials," he added.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff