With the consumer demand for appliances getting stronger post the lockdown, diversified appliances maker Usha International is upbeat on 2021 and expects to gain market share taking it to over 10 per cent in the categories it operates.

The company also expects to significantly expand its operating base and business in the southern market.

Sharing his perspective, Saurabh Baishakhia, President, Appliances, Usha International, told BusinessLine , “As we head into 2021, we will be looking at our pre-Covid strategies and examine them against new realities and update next year plans to ensure we can continue to deliver outstanding products that solve real market problems in a post pandemic world.”

“The year 2020 was a period of great learning for everyone. Despite the innumerable challenges in the initial months of lockdown, we overcame them. Since the beginning of the lockdown, consumer sentiments were positive for the kitchen and home appliances category,” he said.

Higher demand

During and post lockdown, the category saw even more momentum as consumers suddenly found themselves working from home and doing household chores alongside. Consumers preferred appliances that cut time in the kitchen such as OTG, induction cook tops, blenders, mixer and grinders,” he said.

“With the increasing demand for kitchen appliances, we witnessed a rise in average ticket size in the sale of OTGs, Mixer Grinders, and Cooktop product categories by 10-15 per cent along with a 100 per cent jump in the sales via online channels. Q2 and Q3 have been very good for us and we are optimistic that we will close the year at a 20 per cent growth,” he said.

“We expect 2021 to fuel consumer demand and continue with the growth pattern in coming quarters. Though there are headwinds causing some concern led by the rise in raw materials which has resulted in price increase across industry. We will continue in our journey to launch new products and innovative technologies, and improve the depth of our distribution penetration across channels. During the pandemic, we created the Usha Cook store on Amazon offering omnichannel digital experience,” he said.

Consumer durables

“Usha International has a sizable presence in the home and kitchen appliances category. Currently, we have a 7-8 per cent of the market share in the category that we operate in (estimated to be ₹ 12,000 crore). We are looking at this growing to double digit in the categories we are present in,” he said.

“We are confident that we will be able to meet our sales projections for the year through continued efforts of increasing penetration in metro and rural and e-commerce. The consumer durables sector has been one of the fastest sectors to have bounced back in the new normal as people got used to restricted living and spending more time indoors, there has been a clear trend of spending more on gadgets and appliances in order to make their life more comfortable. Bulk of consumer optimism is coming from the smaller Tier II, III, IV markets,” he said.

Supply chain

“We have been able to get our supply chain back to 90-95 per cent levels. With demand picking up significantly across product categories and seeing a double-digit growth coming from digital and urban, we ramped up our investments and efforts in the e-commerce space, across all the key platforms in the last few months. Besides Amazon, where we have a Brand Store for Usha Sewing Machines and Usha Cook, we are also present on all marketplaces,” he said.