The air conditioner manufacturers in the country are making a killing this summer as the soaring mercury level has triggered a rush to buy the product in the tier 3,4 and 5 towns in Kerala.

Enervated by the scalding heat, air conditioners have ceased to be a luxury item even for the low-income families. Take the case of Leela (name changed), a 50-year-old housemaid in Kochi. Yearning for a sound sleep in the scorching summer after tedious work in different locations in the city, she decided to install an AC in her house with the consent of her husband who is a carpenter.

Unconcerned about the expected rise in the power bills as needs a proper rest before going for the job next day, Leela did not hesitate to make a down payment of ₹25000 for a one-tonne AC.

Leela is just one example, says Jerry Mathew, Managing Director of White Mart, where she bought the AC.

“Rising temperature levels this summer in Kerala has forced even auto drivers, head-load workers etc especially in rural areas to go for air conditioners,’’ he pointed out. White Mart has witnessed a 125 per cent growth in the first three months of the calendar year.

Air conditioners, according to B Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Blue Star Ltd., have emerged as most sought-after buying products and the growth is driven up mainly by the middle class. More than 65 per cent of the sales are witnessed from tier 3,4 and 5 cities and more than 92 per cent are first hand buyers with 50 per cent through consumer finance.

“It shows the growing aspirations of the middle-income groups. I think this category has opened up in a big way across the markets”, he told businessline.

Thiagarajan said Blue Star has witnessed more than 100 per cent growth in the festival season in Kerala right from Onam and it continued for Diwali and the New Year. With the surging sales, the business outlook looks positive in the current year as well, he said.

The industry was expected to close with 10 billion units in March. “We had projected one million unit sales and we have crossed the figures. Our growth in value terms was 13.75 per cent”, he added.

Jerry Mathew said this is the first time that Kerala is witnessing such a rise in AC sales which has now become climate-driven. Referring to the industry numbers, he said there has been a steady growth in AC sales in Kerala since January with 49,000 units against 46,000 in January 2023; February 99,000 (37,000 in Feb 2023) and March 1.75 lakh units compared to 95,000 in the corresponding March in 2023.

Another major trend noticed is the major shift to ACs in the prayer hall of several Muslim mosques in the State. He said he hopes that such a trend may soon happen in Christian churches as well.