Bengaluru: Vu Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which over the past 12-18 months has emerged as a premier television brand in Indian households primarily due to its partnership with online marketplace Flipkart, expects to nearly double sales by the end of March 2018, a top company executive said.
In an interview, Vu founder and CEO Devita Saraf said the company expects to generate sales of about Rs850-900 crore by March 2018, from current levels of around Rs500 crore. Flipkart, separately, said that Vu had grown 200% on its marketplace over the past 12 months.
“As Flipkart’s numbers have grown and as we become more ambitious with the Big 10 sale that they just had, the good part is that we work with them very closely on a regular basis and are able to really plan for what customers are looking for and are introducing new products,” said Saraf.
Flipkart said that Vu has been its biggest-selling TV brand during the first three days of its ongoing Big 10 sale event.
“The Big 10 sale has been good for us, but I think what’s interesting is that there is so much pent-up demand for the Vu TV on Flipkart that even on (the first day of the sale) from 12 midnight to 4am, we sold some 4,000 TVs within a few hours…It’s not just the 32 and 40-inch TVs that have been selling, but its also been the 4K model that has been bringing in amazing numbers for us,” said Saraf.
According to analysts tracking e-commerce, Vu’s growth as a major TV brand has been mainly due to its high-quality TV sets at affordable prices, even as it faces competition from larger multinational brands such as Samsung, Panasonic and LG.
“The biggest differentiator for us is the fact that we are an extremely customer-centric brand—the entire package offering that we give to customers is much better than our competitors, whether we’re talking about the quality of the product or the new features that we’ve added or the post-sales customer service or even the great offers that we do. We focus on quality, service and price—that’s our USP,” said Saraf.
For Flipkart, its exclusive partnership with Vu has been a key growth driver and has helped it increase its market share in large appliances. According to at least two Flipkart executives, who requested anonymity, Vu currently accounts for at least 10-15% of Flipkart’s overall television sales.
Flipkart’s partnership with Vu has assumed even greater significance after the marketplace lost its exclusive arrangement with consumer electronics brand BPL to arch-rival Amazon earlier this month.
Mint reported on 4 May that BPL had scrapped its three-year partnership with Flipkart and had instead forged a tie-up with Amazon India to sell large appliances such as televisions and fridges.
“We have offline stores where customers can come and experience the products. We are very happy with our relationship with Flipkart and the geographies that we are in. For instance, with this sale, we have expanded into markets such as Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kerala,” said Saraf.
The television category is a key battleground for Flipkart—it generates higher sales from the category than Amazon. Moreover, Flipkart enjoys some advantages over Amazon in the category due to two important moats that it has created—an independent supply chain network for the business and its ownership of Jeeves Consumer Services Pvt. Ltd, which provides after-sales installation and other services. Flipkart acquired a majority stake in Jeeves for an undisclosed amount in late 2014.
Mint reported on 3 May that Flipkart expects sales of televisions, refrigerators and other large electrical appliances to more than double this year, driven primarily by exclusive products from brands such as Samsung and Vu and faster and more consistent product deliveries.
By 2018, TV sales in India are expected to touch $14.7 billion from $8.3 billion in 2014, according to a January report by India Brand Equity Foundation and TechSci Research, a market research firm.