Mumbai: There is always a category of consumer appliances that benefits from the state’s lapses—inverters, generators and water purifiers.
Now, with the fast-deteriorating air quality in most Indian cities, add air purifiers to the list.
That’s a far cry from a year ago when few were aware of air purifiers, and fewer still bought them.
Today the category is fast gaining scale with over two dozen companies—local and multinational—offering air purifiers.
To stand out in this fast-growing market, Philips India, which launched air purifiers about eight months ago, is now looking at mass media advertising to further expand the market, said Jayati Singh, business head, air and health and wellness, Philips India.
Air purifiers are a Rs.250 crore category, according to a Tech Sci 2013 report but growing fast at a compound annual growth rate of over 50%.
To be sure, the category is not new. Eureka Forbes has had air purifiers in India for over 20 years. Yet it is only in the past year, following US President Barack Obama’s visit in January, that sales of air purifiers started picking up.
There were reports in the US media claiming he didn’t bring his children along for fear of Delhi’s noxious air. One enterprising US website calculated the hours he had shaved off his life expectancy by breathing the national capital’s air.
“What we used to do in a year in terms of sales we now do in one month and believe that this will further double,” said Sashank Sinha, head of marketing, Eureka Forbes.
Sharp India Ltd, Panasonic India Pvt Ltd and Kent RO Systems Ltd are some of the other firms that manufacture air purifiers.
For Philips, the category’s sales have doubled since launch. Yet it remains a niche product for the company. What the advertising strategy reflects is how so-called long-tail products low on demand are gaining prominence in television advertising as companies look for growth from new areas.
Industrial brands wanting to reach consumers, niche cosmetics brands and new products are all advertising on television channels. They may not be on prime time television, but there are a lot of options available to reach consumers, says Shripad Kulkarni, managing director, Vizeum India, the media arm of the Dentsu Aegis Network.
The Philips air purifier commercial comes in time for the festive season. Air quality will further deteriorate in the season thanks to the polluting fireworks during Dussehra and Diwali and the experts expect sales to rise.
The Air Quality Index in major cities ranges between 200-280 index points, and during Diwali it crosses the 400 mark, according to our own estimates, said Vijay Kanan, India head, Blueair India Pvt Ltd, the Indian unit of the Swedish air purifier company that incorporated an unit in the country around a year ago.
Blueair is now offering a 20% discount across its range of purifiers, priced between Rs.40,000 and Rs.90,000.
On sites such as Amazon and Flipkart the category has various brands offering discounts ranging from 5% to 60%.
For instance, on Amazon, Philips India air purifiers have discounts of 5-25% whereas Panasonic has about 10% and Bionaire has about 20%.