“Indian Market is Difficult to Penetrate”: Kishalay Ray, President-CE Business, Sharp

by July 13, 2017 0 comments

Kishalay Ray, President-CE Business, Sharp talks about the consumer business division and why the air purifier market in India is lagging behind.

kishalay ray, sharp, air purifier

Kishalay Ray, President-CE Business, Sharp

Tell us about Sharp Consumer division in India?

The consumer business of Sharp is divided in two major baskets– one is the consumer electronics products which comprise of Televisions and Mobile phones and the second is the Home Appliances which comprise of primarily the refrigerators, Air Conditioners, Air Purifiers and Microwave and various others small gadgets or small home appliances.

However, from some time there is a slight shift in the structure. Lot of equipments are under hold. So, in consumer electronics part; LED TV and Mobile Phones are right now are not available in India. It is expected to be re-launched before Diwali this year. In the case of home appliances, because of BEE stringent specifications, the products like refrigerators are not being developed for Indian conditions. It will be extremely costly to make it according to the efficiencies of BEE, so they are also on hold. Then come Air Conditioners, inverters from Sharp which are highly accepted in the market, but they are also right now on hold.

Is their any reason except refrigerators why the other products are on Hold?

The AC is on hold primarily because the BEE regulations have changed. In 2017 BEE is getting formally into inverters, AC which was the prime code area of Sharp. So, we are going to re-launch our products soon. We also have microwave portfolio they are also on hold in Indian market.

We have top class products in Microwave with very different features other than our competitors. Thus they are so costly mostly 1.5 times, and are only suitable for health conscious class in India. And here in India, consumers watch for cheaper or more economical options. Our microwave range starts from 10,000 and goes up-to Rs 1 Lakh, which is not appreciated here.

Right now sharp is highly focused on Air Purifier. That is the product which is basically for the future, the one the country is waking up to.

What is the GTM strategy you follow for Air Purifier?

The market as of now is restricted to Delhi only; in rest of the cities market is not evolved so much. Because, the definition of pollution has not reached to the masses so much and there is not much of awareness. People do not identify Air Purifier as a solution for indoor pollutants as of now. So, last two year sales patterns shows that 70% of sales happened in Delhi. Although sales are also happening in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata but those sales are at mini scale as compared to Delhi.

What is the total size of the Market? What are the strategies to blow the market?

Last year, it was approximately 2 Lakhs; out of that 1.4 Lakhs is from NCR only. But, this 1.4 Lakhs sale is happened over a period of two months that is post Diwali which is very discouraging and problematic also for a brand like Sharp because you have to put your resources throughout the year. For example- if you have to sell 1.4 lakhs units over a period of two months imagine what kind of resources is required by company and to maintain such kind of resource throughout the year.

The issue here in India is that, the people do not understand the scientific aspects of Air Purifier. Almost 40 Lakh people are affected by cancer due to air pollution, which is a big number. Using air purifier will protect people to some extent.

What are the initiatives Sharp is taking to enhance consciousness among people?

No doubt that we are growing in the market. When we started, we were looking purely to educate the customers. Making them understand the health benefits of using Air Purifier. But over the time we have learnt that Indian market is too difficult to penetrate.

But, I want to clear that we are not getting discouraged; we are continuously giving our efforts to educate the consumers that what a good Air Purifier means. And Social Media engagement is a big tool for us in this area.

What are your other solutions to penetrate the market?

We have partnered with two direct selling companies; these direct selling companies have no relationship with the environment.  They are educating people throughout the year about the need of an Air Purifier and the technology we are giving. Through these direct selling companies we are able to overcome the challenge of a segmented or restricted market place. so we are able to reach throughout the country, although the sales are not very large as of now but at least we are able to sell throughout the country. The benefit of these direct selling companies is that they do not have any channel and they sell direct to customers.

How many Sharp outlets are there in Delhi-NCR?

We have probably 35 outlets. These are all combination of B2B and retail. We don’t sell through LFRs. One of our channels is direct selling network and second is retail. In Delhi probably we have 12-15 retail counters where these products are available. But they are not exclusive Sharp Counters, they are multi brand counters. Soon, we are going to start online sale as well.

What is the price range of your Air Purifiers? And how you categorize it?

Our range starts from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000. We have varieties of Air Purifier, for instance we have Car Air Purifier, Air Purifier and Humidifier combo; other is Air Purifier and De-humidifier combo. We are soon going to launch Air purifier and Mosquito catcher combo.

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