Kochi: It isn’t just the monsoon, the annual rains on which Indian agriculture depends, that starts in Kerala and moves north to other parts of the country. The festive season, on which several consumer durable companies pin their hopes, too begins in the state.
With Onam, Kerala’s harvest festival, just around the corner (it is on 27 August), it’s raining white and brown goods in the state. It is Kerala’s biggest festival; companies and the state government usually issue bonuses to their employees to mark the festival, and spending on consumer products increases. This year, companies expect sales of around Rs700 crore in the Onam season.
The festival is also a good opportunity for companies to test new products and promotional campaigns as a sort of curtain raiser to similar seasons across the country.
Maharashtra’s biggest festival, Ganesh Chathurthi, comes in September. It is followed by Durga Puja, West Bengal’s biggest festival, and then Diwali in most parts of the country (especially the North). The season ends with the New Year and Pongal, Tamil Nadu’s harvest festival in mid-January.
Major companies such as LG Electronics India Ltd, Samsung Electronics India Ltd, Philips India, Videocon International, Sony India, the Onida Group, Sansui India, Whirlpool of India, Godrej Home Appliances and several others have introduced new models in the market. Some of the companies are offering gifts such as gold coins and tour packages to select destinations including China in an effort to attract consumers.
Analysts estimate sales in the festive season in Kerala last year at Rs500 crore.
They say the Onam sale accounts for 50% of the state’s annual sales. By that measure, Kerala will see sales of Rs1,400 crore of consumer durables in 2007-08.
Since this is the first festival of the year, it is the testing ground for industry, says Girish V. Rao, vice-president, sales and marketing at LG.
According to him, sales in the festival season accounts for 50% of annual sales across the country.
LG expects to reach out to around 175,000 customers this month and sell products worth Rs150 crore.
Samsung India is looking to sell products worth Rs80 crore, a 60% increase over the last Onam sale, according to the company’s deputy managing director, Ravinder Zutshi.
And the Onida Group hopes to sell colour television sets alone worth Rs50 crore, according to its business head Vivek Takolkar. Panasonic India has set itself a sales target of Rs22 crore and Kenstar, Rs25 crore.
Ravindran Nair, a government employee in Kochi, plans to by a TV set this Onam. He will replace the old one, bought three years ago, almost to the date. That, too, was bought during an Onam sale.