In today’s fast-paced and crowded marketplace, consumer demands for unique and technologically advanced products are increasing. Marketers and research teams are always on their toes to spot the next trend or risk becoming stale. Brands around the world are looking for similar well-defined metrics, but only a few stand out in a burgeoning market. What do these successful players do? The answer is breaking with innovation and best-in-class technology. 2018 was the year of integration into the household appliance category. However, 2019 is set to be the year of ‘consumer centricity’ in India.
The government’s “Make in India” initiative is turning heads as companies invest in India-specific innovation and products. This shift will positively affect the future of home appliances in India as manufacturers are now focusing on India-specific innovations. In 2019, these exceptional improvements to the ordinary will set industry trends.
The ‘smart home’ – a reality in urban households across India
In the appliance industry, it is essential to keep up with current trends and reinvent old technologies to meet the demands of today’s consumers. In such a dynamic environment, all industry players aim to offer the latest technological functionalities grouped in a differentiated offer. 2018 has revolutionized the home appliance industry with the introduction of innovations such as smart devices featuring energy saving tools, sensor-driven wireless products, voice control for hands-free movements, digital features and mobile integration. However, 2019 is expected to be the year of acceptance of these technologies in urban metropolitan cities, making life simple for Indian households.
Premiumization of Indian households
Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the spending abilities of urban Indians who are opting for products and services that act as a style statement or status symbol. Based on this idea, companies strive to offer a section of premium goods and services, many of which cater to niche audiences. The growing need to resonate with the products one uses has accelerated the demand for custom appliances that complement the overall theme of the home and meet the utility requirements of the household. Basic household appliances like washing machines, refrigerators and blenders that are found in every Indian household are also seeing high demand for the latest and most advanced features. Interestingly, the demand for embedded devices is growing due to the perfect fusion of cutting-edge design language and high functionality.
Acceptance of Western culture
A few years ago, the reliance of traditional Indian cuisine on technology was insignificant. However, nowadays consumers are looking for convenience in the form of home appliances. Formerly known as western appliances, products like the vacuum cleaner, slow juicers, hand blenders, washing machines, etc. have made their way into authentic Indian kitchens. The common factor driving the demand for such devices is the convenience proposition, the reduction of time spent on daily tasks. Mainly known as “Western” appliances, such as wine coolers, fireplaces, dishwashers, etc., the trend will be in the home appliance industry in the coming year.
Indianization/Tracking of devices
Since 2010, the market and consumers have changed considerably. A burgeoning upper middle class, aspiring millennials, a growing working population, and an ever-changing consumer lifestyle are responsible for boosting the home appliances industry in India. In the same spirit, companies are mobilizing around products adapted to the Indian way of life. The acceptance of premium or western technologies will be followed by the localization of devices that solve the pain points of a population in a particular geographical area.
Moreover, the “Made in India” wave has conquered several manufacturing industries and in particular the appliance sector. For example, Bosch is focusing on bringing India-specific innovations to the country, such as mixer grinders with “Stone Pounding technology” or dishwashers with the “Kadhai” function, essential for Indian consumers. These features are sourced from local insights after a thorough understanding of consumer needs.
Accessibility to small markets
The trend to tap into smaller markets has come on leaps and bounds. These upcoming untapped markets have high growth potential as consumers are continuously changing in these geographies. Due to the penetration of mobile phone and internet in smaller markets located on the outskirts of huge metropolises like Nagpur, Vizag, Ahmedabad etc., many of them are exposed to the culture of their evolved urban counterparts . In a market as dynamic as India, companies with a multi-brand portfolio have a head start and offer something for every consumer. So, 2019 could see many companies targeting different consumer segments across geographies by expanding their product portfolios, localizing their offerings and diversifying their brands to meet the needs of every Indian household.
The author is MD & CEO, BSH Household Appliances