Signals launch of new product niche

Tired of dealing with your maid's tantrums on how big the sweeping area in your home is? Tired of locating a maid for hire? Relax and let a home-cleaning robot do the job for you.

On Tuesday, two companies announced the launch of their domestic robotic cleaners, signalling the creation of a new product niche within the vaccuum cleaner segment.

While South Korean firm LG announced its entry into the segment with the launch of its Hom-Bot, priced at Rs 43,990, the Rajeev-Karwal promoted Milagrow HumanTech, marked its debut in the consumer durables space by offering a more competitively priced version.

Milagrow HumanTech's Domestic Robots are priced between Rs 9,990 and Rs 16,990.

“Last calendar year, a total of 4 lakh vacuum cleaners were sold in India. By 2015 7.5 lakh units could be sold. By 2015 we hope the market share for robotic vacuum cleaners would be 13-14 per cent of this. In the developed markets such as the US, this number is 25 per cent,” said Mr Rajeev Karwal, Founder and CEO, Milagrow.

Having tied up with e-tailers such as Flipkart.com and letsbuy.com, large format modern retailers as well as electronic hubs such as Reliance Digital, Milagrow hopes that 95 per cent of its sale will come from tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

Spending 10 per cent of revenue on marketing for the first two years and 5 per cent thereafter, the skew in advertising would be tilted towards business magazines at first, and later extended to television commercials.

“The company will be launching its first TV commercial by Diwali this year. We will also be entering into research partnerships with institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Technology,” Mr Karwal added.

heena.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 1, 2012)
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