Cooling appliances, beverages fly off the shelf as heatwave scorches

  • The sharp rise in demand for cooling appliances and beverages comes as north India reels under dangerously hot weather conditions. Temperatures in some pockets of Delhi shot past 50 degrees on Wednesday, while those in parts of Rajasthan, UP, Haryana, and Punjab continue to hover around that mark.

Suneera Tandon
First Published30 May 2024
Demand for beverages grew both for in-home and out-of-home consumption, companies said, with channels such as quick commerce performing well.
Demand for beverages grew both for in-home and out-of-home consumption, companies said, with channels such as quick commerce performing well.(Mint)

Mumbai: Demand for cold drinks and cooling appliances has shot up, so much so that supplies are struggling to keep pace, as a blistering heatwave scorches large swathes of the country.

Sales of coolers and air conditioners have surpassed records previously seen in 2016 by Vijay Sales, a retailer of consumer electronics. Demand has been strong in north India, said a top executive at the retailer, and manufacturers are rushing to plug demand gaps.

“It’s been a very good summer for air conditioners, air coolers and refrigerators. Last year, the summer was bad because of unseasonal rains. I would say compared to last year, we are well ahead. We had a very good summer 2016; this has surpassed those numbers because the intensity of heatwave is very high,” said Nilesh Gupta, director, Vijay Sales.

Also read: When summer sizzles, can beverage, AC sales be far behind?

Gupta said retailers and manufacturers are struggling to supply adequate stock to the market.

Out of stock

“There have been a few stock-out situations—everyone is running short on stock…so they are making today and dispatching. Situation is that there is no channel inventory. Earlier, retailers used to carry 30-50 days of channel inventory; right now it’s down to 10-15 days. We are calling for stocks daily,” he said.

Growth in air cooler is higher, he added.

Other vendors also said they broke previous sales record on the back of high demand for cooling appliances. “We have surpassed the last five years’ records with a multifold surge in demand. Past summer seasons, especially during covid, were dull,” said Sanjay Chitkara, senior vice-president, LG Electronics India.

Also read: Mint Primer | Into the 50s: Why heatwaves are hotter & longer

Kamal Nandi, executive vice-president and business head at Godrej Appliances, said the company has reported a 100% sales growth in air conditioners between March and April compared to a year ago. Demand for cooling appliances has exceeded expectations, he said, adding that there have been some stock-out situations on specific models.

The heat is on

This precipitous rise in demand for cooling appliances and beverages comes as north India reels under dangerously hot weather conditions. Temperatures in some pockets of Delhi shot past 50 degrees on Wednesday, while those in parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab have been hovering around that mark for the past several days.

Bottled water maker Bisleri International said it has so far had a “very strong” summer, exceeding last year’s demand that was impacted by unseasonal rains.

“This trend is visible across markets except Kerala. On carbonated beverages, there has been a production constraint. While we ramped up capacity, demand has been high,” said Angelo George, CEO, Bisleri International Pvt Ltd. Earlier this year, the company had ramped up manufacturing facilities for its range of fizzy drinks.

Demand for beverages grew both for in-home and out-of-home consumption, companies said, with channels such as quick commerce performing well.

Meanwhile, Anshul Gupta, Dabur India's sales head, said that with the heatwave intensifying across the east, north and central India, the company is witnessing growing demand for its summer-centric products, particularly the glucose portfolio. “We have already built inventory for the same, both at the retail and stockist end, to meet this growing demand,” he said.

Online retailer Amazon reported a surge in demand for deodorants and sunscreens. "Demand for skincare and body care products, with select brands, experienced up to 6.5 times spike as compared to their usual sales volumes. Meanwhile, sale of fragrances was up nine time their typical sales."

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