By Rohit Vaid

New Delhi– After a healthy start to the festive season, consumer durables major Panasonic India expects sales momentum to continue unabated on the back of pent-up demand and growing need for multitasking appliances.

In a conversation with IANS, Panasonic India and South Asia President and CEO Manish Sharma disclosed that despite Covid-19, the company has recorded 30 per cent growth for home appliances this festive season compared to last year.

Traditionally, the festive season in India ushers in higher sales supported by new products and discounts.

“We have seen a positive start to this festive season with a 30 per cent growth across air-conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine and microwave categories over last year. Pent-up demand also contributed to these numbers,” he said.

“However, the demand for LEDs have surpassed the supply, mainly attributed to the high sellout during the early months of unlock. We expect the shortage to continue and this will impact overall sales,” he added.

Sharma said pent-up demand has made a positive impact on the overall sales and cited the example of the air-conditioner segment.

“Typically, ACs are in demand from February to July before it wanes. This year we are seeing a significant growth for ACs even in September-October which signifies that pent-up demand is catching up,” he said.

Notably, Sharma pointed out the growing demand for value-based home appliances that help consumers to multitask.

“LED TVs, connected ACs, vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, refrigerators, microwaves and trimmers are being preferred to address the consumers’ evolved needs that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown phases,” Sharma said.

Besides, he pointed out that sales have increased on e-commerce platforms as consumer behaviour has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Earlier, mainly small size appliances such as grooming products and audio accessories had a preference across online purchase. However, this year we have seen a significant increase in demand for large appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines,” Sharma said.

Accordingly, the company has witnessed an exponential growth of more than 10x this festive season on e-commerce platforms.

“Our strategy of introducing some key online exclusive models along with external influences such as shift in customer behaviour with respect to Covid-19 has been a driving force towards this change,” he said.

“The offline channel too is seeing a good traction. As per trends, only serious shoppers are visiting the stores post researching online, leading to quick closures,” he added.

Panasonic commenced its operations in India in the year 1972.

It has recently designated India as a regional hub to drive growth and build deeper inroads into the fast emerging Asiatic, Middle Eastern and Western economies.

At present, it has a workforce of about 12,500 in the country. (IANS)