Indian home appliances market is evolving. The concept of smart homes, IoT have become very strong trend. In an exclusive conversation with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Anurag Sharma, Director of Akai India explained trends in this domain and highlighted Akai India’s set of priorities.
Anurag Sharma: India is one of the largest markets in the world in terms of electronics and home appliances purchase. Indian consumers today are keen to upgrade with the technological advancements and this has been visible over the last few years. The market is currently experiencing a 360 degree disruption with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and other cutting-edge technologies which are leading to the change in consumer lifestyle and preferences, causing a gradual facelift by the players in their products with competitive pricing.
What are the trends you are witnessing in the buying behavior of India?
The Indian consumer electronics market is comprised of various players competing on the basis of price. The market for consumer electronics in India is progressing at a brisk rate. Also, the rising income level, reach of the e-commerce portals to Tier II and III markets and growing influence of social media is expected to drive consumers’ interests in latest devices and thus increasing spending on consumer electronics.
The Indian consumer electronics market is comprised of various players competing on the basis of price. The market for consumer electronics in India is progressing at a brisk rate.
Akai is re-entering into this market, what are the unique market offerings we are going to experience from Akai?
Akai is committed in offering quality home entertainment products, specializing in audio and video arena. The company, which enjoyed sizeable operations in the late nineties through its range of televisions and home theatres, will be retailed by the Paras Group that has brought the license rights for the Indian market.
AKAI aims to capture 10% of the total available shelf space across the country and targeting a turnover of Rs 2,000 crore by 2020. Having launched operations in the 12 states of India this year, Akai has expanded its Consumer electronics product portfolio with the launch of 50 inch 4K ULTRA HD Smart LED TV and series of Automatic and semi-automatic washing machines to cater to the needs of consumers across the country.
The company’s aim is not only to amplify the sales but at-the same establishing after sales service centres across the country. The company has recently announced the opening of its 100th servicing centre in India. To further amplify its presence in the country, the Japanese tech giant is going to increase its focus for the next two years on marketing, distribution and after-sales service network. With a mission to enhance the overall customer experience, the company also plans to triple the number of servicing centres in the country to 300 by the end of 2017.
AKAI aims to capture 10% of the total available shelf space across the country and targeting a turnover of Rs 2,000 crore by 2020.
The company has also ramped up its retail base with over 1000 dealers’ network across Delhi NCR, Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and foresees to expand to south and east India in near future. In addition to this the company will deploy around 1,000 people at different retail stores across the country. AKAI foresees to reach a critical mass and achieve a threshold level by the end of 2018.
From the Channel Partner ecosystem’s perspective, what are the key offerings you are going to make for your channel partners?
Our first and foremost aim is to give technologically advanced products to our channel partners. We are also increasing the product depth in all three categories that we are present as of now. This will help our partners to sell more. We also aim to establish Akai as a premium brand in the market through our different marketing initiatives which would help our partners in terms of higher brand visibility and awareness.
Can you please share your channel strategy and Go-to-Market?
The core distribution strategy would remain offline but we have already partnered with e-tailer firm Snapdeal for online sales. However, despite its success, digital will not be more than 8 to 10 per cent in line with the industry standards. Having said that, we will engage with other e-commerce players in the coming future.
Till now AKAI has invested around INR150 crore on setting up service centres, distribution channel, manpower and logistics. The company is now planning to strengthen its position in the other parts of the country including major cities in South and East.
Akai has invested on marketing to cash in on the last festive season. At present Akai India has around 200 distributors and the products are available across 1,000 outlets. In the next two months AKAI aims to add 500 more outlets to sell Akai products in the country.
The core distribution strategy would remain offline but it has already partnered e-tailer Snapdeal for online sales. However, despite its success, digital will not be more than 8 – 10 per cent in line with the industry standards. Also, the company will engage with other e-commerce partners in due course as the product portfolio expands further.
Which are the key flagship product verticals that Akai is going focus on its come-back?
Akai India is currently selling LED television, washing machines and air conditioners.As of now, we aim to increase the product depth in each of these three categories,so you would see more models in LED TVs in 40 inch & above. We are also coming up with the inverter AC which will help us in having a complete range in ACs. There are many new washing machines have been launched recently.
As a business leader, how do you experience the evolving Indian Business ecosystem especially with the advent of new taxation regime such as GST?
A uniform tax of 18% for the consumer durable industry would give a significant impetus to the overall demand of the products in the market. This rationalization will not only create more demand, but also counter the amid slowdown of this sector in the recent months. AKAI is committed to pass on the commensurate benefits in line with the proposed reduction of the GST rates to our consumers