Buoyant by early trends of surge in demand, AC makers are expanding their portfolio by adding products in their lineup based on energy-efficient inverter technology and smart features such as IoT and air purifiers. They have also ramped up production to fill the stocks with their channel partners.
Besides, the makers also expect higher sales coming from other cooling products such as refrigerators and air coolers.
Tata group firm Voltas said it anticipates strong summer demand given the fact that temperatures across the country have been “abnormally high”, pointing towards an even hotter and early summer.
“We have already seen a rise in traction amongst channel partners and end-users to purchase products like air-conditioners, air coolers and refrigerators,” Voltas MD & CEO Pradeep Bakshi told PTI.
The AC industry is poised for “strong double-digit growth” in both volume and value this season, across both offline and online channels and Voltas is “well-prepared to meet the surge in demand”, he said.
Industry body Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) expects around 20 per cent volume growth in AC sales this year. “The summer season seems to be setting in with the rise in temperatures across India. We expect AC business to grow by around 15-20 per cent, barring any changes in weather or any unforeseen circumstances in April/ May,” said CEAMA President Eric Braganza.
The Indian residential AC market is expected to be around 8.25 million units in 2022 and had recorded a high double-digit growth, he said.
Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India, which sells residential AC under the brand name Hitachi, is also betting big on volume sales and market share in the room AC category.
“For this year, we are expecting a record double-digit growth and we expect to take our sales growth around 25 per cent in the first half of this year, which is likely to be higher than the overall AC industry growth rate,” said Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Chairman and Managing Director Gurmeet Singh.
Blue Star Managing Director B Thiagarajan said summer is advancing every year and expects a 20 per cent overall growth for the industry in 2023 and 25 per cent in the summer season.
The major growth will come from entry-level products of the energy-saving inverter AC pricing around Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000, he said.
“In the past five quarters, we have done exceedingly well and we have grown faster than the market and expect to continue that. I expect this summer (industry) to grow 25 per cent (by value) and we will be growing 30 per cent,” Thiagarajan added.
Moreover, the penetration of AC is quite low in India compared to other markets and, he said, semi-urban and rural areas would also contribute to the growth of the category.
Fumiyasu Fujimori, Managing Director, Panasonic Marketing India, Panasonic Life Solutions India, expects “a healthy growth” for summer products such as ACs, refrigerators etc. and the company will continue to focus on nano-e technology for healthier air and Miraie (IoT) enabled ACs.
“Last year for our cooling products like ACs and refrigerators, we registered around 35 per cent growth. This year we are hoping for a continued growth momentum registering double-digit growth,” he said.
Godrej Appliances expects a two-fold growth from its residential air-condition vertical to Rs 1,200 crore in 2023.
“Sentiments are much better between last year and this year. We can also expect more discretionary spending this year as people will have more money in their hands with tax reliefs,” said Godrej Appliances Business Head and Executive Vice President Kamal Nandi.
Last year, the demand tapered down due to intermittent rains and the inflationary trend also forced the companies to go for the revised price hikes, he added.
About inflation, Nandi said it has tempered down and has come to a manageable level.