Air Purifiers Still not Seen as a Basic Need in India

Mukul Yudhveer Singh


Estimated to be worth Rs 200-250 crore vertical in India, the air purifier manufacturing brands have failed to tap the consumer market

Despite the 30 to 40 percent growth shown by the air purifier industry, many air purifier brands in India are not feeling content. Industry professionals told a leading media daily that the growth should not be read as a positive sign as it being considered impressive only because of the low base.

B Thiagarajan, joint MD, Blue Star told a leading daily newspaper that air purifiers are still hyped up in India. He added that the industry as a whole is expected to make a loss this year considering the huge expenses on marketing and promotion without any commensurate sales.

Estimated to be worth Rs 200-250 crore vertical in India, the air purifier consumer electronic segment, on a large has failed to tap the consumer market. We look at some possible reasons consumers in India are not buying air purifiers.

Hefty price tags

Electronic brands, this year launched several air purifier models starting at a base price of Rs 8,000 but failed to garner customer interest. Mr Paras, who works at AC Electronics said, “The entry level air purifiers are not compatible with air quality prevailing in Delhi-NCR. The ones that are compatible with this type of air quality are generally priced Rs 13,000 upwards and middle class consumers hesitate in spending that kind of money on an air purifier.”

Vijay Sales, a leading consumer electronics retailer that is present in offline as well as online consumer electronics sales was only able to sell 500 units of air purifiers last year in Delhi-NCR.

It is to be noted here that more than half of the total air purifiers purchases are made by institutional buyers including five and seven star hotels, embassies, CXO chambers in corporate houses. People suffering from respiratory problems also account for a large number of customers buying air purifiers.

High maintenance

Consumers in India also hesitate in investing in air purifiers because of their maintenance costs. Paras explains that air filters, which form a critical part of air purifiers cost more than Rs 4,000 on an average. He further explained that these need to be changed every 3000 hours or six months (average). Even if the consumer decides to buy a air purifier, the maintenance cost factor pulls him back.

He also explained that there are ‘Made in India’ filters available at economical prices but consumers have several times complained of their quality and capability to purify air.

Not seen as a basic need

Consumers in India, despite poor air quality, do not see air purifiers as a basic need. Mayur Bhatia, who recently purchased a air purifier for his office on being questioned whether he would like to have his home installed with one said, “I do not think it is a requirement at my home. The only reason I got it installed at my office is because of foreign clients who usually visit during Diwali. It creates a good impression.”

Many retail outlets confirmed that the majority of air purifier sales take place during Diwali season. Paras explained that people generally buy air purifiers during Diwali not because of the festive sales period, but because air pollution is usually at its peak at that time. As soon as the pollution resides, air purifiers sales go flat again.

A salesmen working at a major electronics retail outlet who did not wished to be named shared a very interesting fact. He said, “A lot of people who walk in our store with intentions of buying a air purifier many times buy some other electronic item. I think they  do not want to buy something that they can’t show off on Diwali. Such people usually go for LED TVs, home theater systems or other electronic appliances.”

It would not be wrong to say that extensive brand promotions, advertisements and radio ads have not been able to project air purifiers as a basic need in India.