The world’s largest ‘Symphony’ versus a host of new brands in the Indian air cooler market! – Bonafide Research
Before some years, Symphony Limited, Bajaj, Kenstar & Usha International were the only few organized players in the air cooler market of India. But today, there are a host of players which have entered the category including Maharaja, Ram Cooler, Khaitan, Voltas, Blue Star, Havells, Orient, Marc, Crompton Greaves, Vego, McCoy, Cello, Hindware, and Videocon among others. The air cooler market is seeing increased competition with the entry of many new companies.
Earlier there were very few branded players in the air cooler market of India due to low demand for the product. As the demand started roaring and Symphony’s business turned big, at least 10 to 15 new brands entered into this category. All these new entrants are helping the organized market to expand. The market has been also driven by the regular launches of new models by new players with a focus on product aesthetics and shift from metal body to the plastic body. Kenstar is trying to customize its air coolers to suit the requirements of different regions in India. The company is also keeping its distribution strategy different for each region. Voltas, a Tata group firm, is certain of giving a tough competition to established players – especially the market leader Symphony. Maharaja Whiteline’s brand of Groupe SEB is putting a high priority on new products with innovative features. Traditional air-conditioner makers like Blue Star and Voltas have also jumped into the segment. Symphony is taking this intense competition into consideration and has also made its communication stand large enough. But it seems like the company is currently focusing on its overseas sales and wants to equalize it with the domestic ones. This may hold its position as the world’s largest air cooler company but the brand’s domestic dominance may come under threat.
The organized air cooler industry has crossed a market size of Rs. 2,000 crore in India whereas the rest is still unorganized. The organized air cooler market is set to grow profoundly in the next five years, thus lowering the share of unorganized/ local manufacturers. The demand will be majorly fuelled by growing sales in tier II and III cities, which are reluctant to buy high-cost air conditioners for towering electricity bills. The industry is seeing the entry of new players, thus intensifying the competition with existing players like Symphony, Usha International, Kenstar, Bajaj, and Maharaja.
RISE OF THE MARKET LEADER – SYMPHONY
After a strategic acquisition of an air cooler company called Impco in North America, Symphony become a global leader and gained the title of the world’s largest air cooler company. Its presence is spread across 60 countries and leads the organized air cooler market of India. Apart from leveraging Impco’s established relationship with large store formats, the company also commenced the export of residential plastic air coolers to North America. Impco sells these air coolers in North, South, and Latin American markets. Moreover, Symphony appointed a country manager for Russia, which saw a spurt in demand for air coolers in the last few years. In Mexico, it undertook an extensive brand-building exercise through TV and print ad campaign. In 2015, Symphony again acquired Munters Keruilai Air Treatment Equipment (Guangdong) Co. Ltd (MKE), a company producing air coolers under the brand Keruilai in China.
All these activities across the globe show that Symphony has today successfully transformed a business disadvantage into a potential opportunity. By focusing on sales across the world, the company has reduced the dependence on seasonality, which usually comes with the air cooler business. Currently, Symphony has in all 56 models of air coolers in the residential segment, 5 models each in the commercial and heavy-duty central air cooling range, and 6 models in the packaged air cooler segment. The company claims to have 8 patents to its name along with 7 copyrights, 49 registered designs, 108 trademarks, and a global R&D center recognized by the Government.
EXPANSION OF PRODUCT PORTFOLIO
In early 2017, Symphony launched its ‘Touch Range’. This range of air coolers come with i-Pure technology and other features such as a digital touch screen, voice assist, mosquito repellent, six high-efficiency cooling pads covering all the four sides, a removable water tank, cassette-type removable pads for easy maintenance, double blower for powerful air throw, electronic humidity control, and full-function remote. The i-PURE technology has a PM2.5 wash filter, bacteria filter, allergy filter, and smell & dust filter for delivering cool and pure air, both at the same time. The range has five models from 20 liters to 110 liters for cooling areas up to 600 square feet.
In May 2017, Orient Electric also launched a range of new air coolers in the segment of personal, window, tower, desert, and slim desert air coolers. The company has entered into a strategic partnership with Airtek International, which is a global market leader in home comfort and energy-efficient products. All orient air coolers come with certification by Intertek – an internationally acclaimed UK based certification agency. Orient Electric is now focusing to make air coolers available in newer towns through modern retail, e-commerce portals, and company brand stores with a strong service network.