Pratim Ranjan Bose

Kolkata, Dec. 22

HAVING dominated the consumer market for decades, Indian Oil is finally expecting stiff competition from private players especially in the small and unorganised consumer petroleum products market. Consumer market is roughly three times the size of retail petroleum products business in the country.

The company is currently has 65 per cent share of the organised consumer market comprising major customers such as railways, power sector and transport utilities. The Railways, which is the single largest consumer of refined petroleum products, sources roughly 80 per cent of its total requirement from the company. "We have already attained a dominant position in the organised consumer market and chances of enhancing our market share in this segment are minimal," an IOC official said.

Though not apprehending any imminent competition from the private sector in this segment, the company is anticipating stiff competition in the small and (or) unorganised consumer sector, which is nearly 35 per cent of the total consumer market and comprises SSI and medium industrial sector, commercial fleet owners and so on. "As things stand we may even lose some share in this market," the official said. To arrest the trend, the company has focussed on providing value-added services to the smaller customers.

Unlike the previous practice of managing both the retail and consumer market through same divisional heads, separate account managers are appointed at the divisions to handle only the small customers. The account managers are responsible for providing tailor made consultancy services to each small customer irrespective of its business size.

The success of XtraPower prepaid cards for fleet owners has also enabled merging a section of retail and consumer market.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 23, 2005)
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