For 27-year-old Bhushan Kalap, prime time on the idiot box was never a priority. This artist from Kandivli, a suburb in Mumbai, would rather play games on his mobile, while the women in the house soaked in the melodrama beamed on TV, courtesy sundry saas-bahu soap operas.
This was before the Indian Premier League happened.
Creating a buzz: A consumer electronics showroom in New Delhi. Leading consumer durable makers have realized that IPL is much more than just a platform to promote and advertise their products.
A die-hard cricket fan, Kalap says he “knew there would be a war in the house over the remote control starting 18 April when IPL kicked off.” It was the reason that, in the week preceding IPL, Kalap carted a brand new TV into his room. Although the buy has burned a hole in his pocket, it’s a “win-win” situation, says Kalap, who has watched almost all the matches till now, while entirely avoiding the fight over the remote.
By now, leading consumer durable makers have realized that IPL is much more than just a platform to promote and advertise wares. It is also triggering a surge in television sales, especially at a time when products such as refrigerators and air conditioners are high on shopping lists.
“There has been an upsurge in sale of TVs and we saw a growth of over 20% in April over the same month last year. In top 35 to 40 cities, IPL has been the main trigger for the sale of colour television sets (CTVs),” says Amitabh Tiwari, business head of electronics and appliances at LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd.
Experts say TV sales are typically low in summer with about 10% growth because demand spikes for refrigerators and air conditioners at this time. But, for most companies this April, high-end television sets, including those with LCD and plasma screens, have recorded a 100% growth, and the CTV segment has grown by more than 25%, according to estimates provided by industry body Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (Ceama).
“The popularity and excitement IPL is creating has contributed to at least 15% additional growth in TV sales this year compared with the previous year,” says Suresh Khanna, secretary general of Ceama. “There has been a strong demand for flat panels, particularly in big TV sets in metro cities, while consumers in smaller towns are replacing black and white TVs with colour sets or buying their first TV sets now.”
A study by MindShare Insights, the research arm of media buying agency MindShare, has said that IPL is tremendously popular among Indian consumers, as reported in Mint on 12 May.
The study says 131 million people across India watched IPL at some point, making it the highest viewed TV programme in recent times.
“While April and May is strictly an off-season for the TV segment, we are finding a situation where TV sales are still growing as IPL is attracting enough eyeballs for us. To tap IPL, we launched a new range of Onida ‘Xaria’ LCD TV during this period, and are advertising it heavily,” says Gulu Mirchandani, chairman and managing director of Mirc Electronics Ltd.
“The cricketing season is definitely having a positive rub-off on CTV sales in the second quarter. In April, at Samsung, we registered an overall growth of 20% in CTV sales, with LCD TVs leading the increase with 100% growth,” says R. Zutshi , deputy managing director of Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd.
Another leading firm, Videocon Industries Ltd, says IPL seems to be pushing the entry of a second television set in single TV households in the country. Videocon saw 18% sales growth this year over the same period a year ago.
That Indians are increasing eating out of home has provided another trigger for high TV sales. Restaurants and even small-time eateries have started installing TVs on their premises. During IPL, it is a big draw for those wanting to watch matches together.
“Food joints and restaurants are attracting lots of youngsters during IPL as they prefer to watch matches with their friends. We have seen a rise in the number of TV sales from this segment of consumers,” says Jyoti Shekhar, vice-president of marketing at Videocon.
TV makers seem to want yet more out of IPL. Last week, Samsung launched “Khulja Slim Slim” consumer offer, in which a customer buying any Samsung flat CTV stands a chance to win an upgrade. With this, the company hopes to achieve a 40% growth in its CTV sales in May and June this year.
Similarly, its arch-rival LG launched its new product Scarlet LCD TV and booked spots in almost all the matches to promote the new brand, the company said.