New Delhi: A football enthusiast from his Kolkata days, Delhi-based investment banker Sanjeev Pandiya bought a 65-inch flat panel television just so he could watch the FIFA World Cup final. Although Pandiya has been living without the idiot box for the last 20 years, his 4 lakh buy is “worth every penny", he feels.

“As I saw the line-up for the finals I was convinced that this is going to be an interesting World Cup," he said.

Football enthusiasts like Pandiya are making television manufacturers smile as sales of their products—small screen as well as large screen TVs—surged in the past two months. Companies such as Sony Corp., Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd and Haier Appliances India Pvt. Ltd reported a 50% to 80% jump in sales in West Bengal, parts of the Northeast, Goa and Kerala, where football is particularly popular. The Korean consumer durables maker LG Electronics India saw a 100% growth in the football markets from mid-May to mid-July compared to the same period a year ago. Sales for LG also improved in the southern metros.

Thanks to football enthusiasts, the television sector has witnessed a growth of 40% month-on-month for flat panel televisions.

Sony, which holds 40% of the overall flat panel market in India, nearly tripled its sales in West Bengal (specifically Kolkata) and the Northeast between April and June 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. In Kolkata alone the company has sold 70-80,000 television units in the first quarter, compared with 25,000 units a year ago. Kochi too reported a sales growth of about 70-80%, while Goa saw a 40-50% jump compared to the normal sales cycles in other months, said Sunil Nayyar, head, sales, at Sony. In the first quarter, the company saw a 90% year-on-year jump in TV sales pan-India.

“Although the matches are not being telecast at a convenient time, television sales have jumped," said Suresh Khanna, secretary general at Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA). FIFA World Cup always generates more sales, he added.

“After three years, television sales have grown significantly," said Manish Sharma, managing director, Panasonic India and South Asia. Panasonic too saw a 40% jump in sales in May and June in Kerala, Goa and Kolkata.

Part of the reason for sales growth in large-screen televisions in India is also because the government imposed import duty on flat panels brought in as part of passenger baggage, Sharma said.

Chinese consumer electronics firm Haier claims its TV sales grew by 100%. “There have been incremental sales from Northeast too—specifically Assam—where we registered more than 70% growth," said Shanta Roy Sanjeev, head of marketing at Haier. “People opted for large screen sizes," she said, adding that 32-inch and 40-inch TVs were best-sellers for the company.

LG’s marketing head of home entertainment, Rishi Tandon, claims the company saw good traction for large-screen televisions: “55-inch and plus did really well," Tandon said. While viewers in Kolkata bought medium and large-screen sets, growth in West Bengal was driven by smaller screens.

Atul Lall, deputy managing director at Dixon Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a leading electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, too saw buoyant sales around flat panels, mostly in states such as West Bengal, Assam and other parts of the Northeast. According to Lall, 25-30% growth in flat panels in the last couple of months can be attributed to the World Cup. “Large screen sizes…40-inch and plus are doing extremely well," he said.

According to Ajit Joshi, chief executive officer and managing director at Infiniti Retail Ltd that runs Croma stores in the country, there has been more hype around the sport and the excitement levels are very high. “Between the last World Cup and now there is huge amount of awareness because of popular television channels and newspapers increasing their coverage around the sport," said Joshi, adding that sales of TVs in markets such as Bangalore and Mumbai have also improved.

Most brands ran city-specific offers and promotions in the football-crazy parts of the country before the FIFA World Cup kicked off on 12 June. For instance, Sony offered a replica of Brazuca, the official FIFA match ball, free with every 28-inch LED TV and above, and free headphones with 24-inch LED TVs only for consumers in Kolkata.

Haier too offered an 8GB USB drive with every television sale in Kerala and West Bengal. The final match will be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 14 July, 12:30am Indian Standard Time.

The flat panel television market in India is estimated to go over 9 million units by December 2014, thanks to an annual growth rate of 30%, according to CEAMA.

Close