Saurav Katyal (SK), Director, Consumer Electronics Business, Samsung India, in an exclusive conversation with Electronics For You shed light on Samsung’s AC business in India. He feels that demand for ACs in the country will pick up in the coming times
Samsung is one of the biggest players in the consumer electronics domain in the world. Yet, it is one of the few companies that do not manufacture or retail window ACs. Saurav Katyal told Electronics For You that the overall industry contribution of window AC segment has now been restricted to just five per cent, majorly confined to markets in the North region.
Saurav shared, “One of the reasons, customers opt for split ACs is because window ACs are noisy and they occupy more space with their outdoor unit. Also, with new constructions in retail as well as hospitality sectors, there is no provision to install window ACs now.”
Here are some more interesting excerpts from the interaction
Que 1 – The AC season in India is here, what are Samsung’s Targets for India market during current and the next financial year?
SK – With the onset of the new season, energy efficiency is one of the primary parameters for consumers while making purchasing decisions for air conditioners. With deep understanding of consumer preferences, Samsung recently introduced its latest range of Triple Inverter Technology powered ACs. This innovative technology comes with triple benefits for consumers in terms of energy saving, faster cooling and unmatched performance even in extreme heat condition of 54 °C.
Our target has always been to educate consumers about the new advanced technology which will cater to their realistic issues while addressing the issue of energy consumption and saving.
Que 2 – The demand for ACs in India is low in comparison to many other consumer electronic products. What could be the reason behind the same? How are you planning to address the challenge?
SK – The demand for ACs in India, especially in the RAC industry currently has low penetration level of around 7 to 8 per cent. However, we see this trend evolving with increased penetration owing to rise in disposable incomes and introduction of new technologies like Inverter ACs. Furthermore, rising temperatures YOY and introduction of affordable offers launched by all the brands is making it easier to upgrade for a consumer from room cooler to room air conditioner.
Addressing this trend, we at Samsung have already introduced 100 per cent inverter line-up which caters to the energy saving need, accompanied with varied consumer centric offers like zero down payment EMI’s, free installation, higher warranty, free service etc. in order to support consumers with an easy, hassle free upgradation of air conditioners.
With further expansion into Tier III/Tier IV cities with our latest range of inverter, our objective of understanding the evolving consumer needs and building India specific products has been successfully achieved.
Que 3 – What technologies do you think will shape the future of air conditioners in India in next five years?
SK – The AC industry has witnessed a major shift with the introduction of inverter technology in the split AC segment. Consumers now are looking to buy a product which helps them save energy and helps them lower their monthly electricity bills.
Secondly, as a result of rising pollution levels, air conditioners with better air filters are expected to gain popularity.
Que 4 – Samsung stresses a lot on Inverter ACs, any specific reason behind that?
SK – We have always believed in addressing the consumer needs as our top most priority. Our R&D centre in Chennai along with SRIs constantly identifies consumer needs in this category and addressing them under Make for India innovations.
Taking cue from the same philosophy, we observed that today the Indian consumer is looking for an air conditioner which addresses their three basic needs:
1) energy efficiency
2) faster cooling
3) an unmatched cooling performance in extreme heat conditions of 54°C
Along with these, customers are also look for durability. Considering this, we have introduced Triple Inverter ACs powered by digital inverter 8 pole motor which reduces the cooling time drastically without burning a hole in the pocket.
Additionally, as a responsible brand, at Samsung we have been following the Government of India’s energy rating body (BEE- Bureau of Energy Efficiency) rating guidelines in all inverter models.
Que – 5 We have seen a lot of innovations from Samsung, but the fact that Samsung does not manufacture Window ACs is a question that still remains unanswered, would you like to throw some light on the same?
SK – As time progresses, the technology narrative also transforms itself. A similar change can be seen with Window ACs. The overall industry contribution of this segment has now been restricted to just five per cent, majorly confined to markets in the North region.
One of the reasons, customers opt for split ACs is because window ACs are noisy and they occupy more space with their outdoor unit. Also, with new constructions in retail as well as hospitality sectors, there is no provision to install window ACs now.
Que 6 – What’s next in ACs that Samsung will be launching in India? How do you read the market first before launching a new product?
SK – Every year we come up with latest technology which helps to improve the life of consumers and gives them an option to upgrade to a technologically superior product. Before launching any product we conduct robust market research across cities, demographics and consumer profiles. Through this, we aim to address the specific consumer requirements which vary from region to region.
Basis this market research, over last 4 years we at Samsung have introduced technologically superior products in the RAC segment (Room AC) with unique and industry first innovations such as: Worlds first Triangle design Inverter AC, followed up with Worlds First 8 Pole Motor for Inverter AC and also World’s first Windfree Air conditioners.
In-line with this strategy, Samsung will continue to drive its presence across price points by driving innovations around India specific consumer needs and upcoming trends
Que 7 – What difference do you see in Indian and other AC markets? Do you have a different strategy for India market?
SK – The Indian market today is at a very nascent stage in the RAC business. The consumer demand here is to have a product which not only helps in making the life comfortable but should also be affordable.
Interestingly, there is also a growing interest within the Indian consumers to adopt newer and advanced technologies. Air conditioners till now were considered as luxury in India but with increased disposable income and more awareness it is now becoming a necessity whereas other markets have matured.
Que 8 – Where are you more focused towards – online or offline sales channels in India?
SK – We are present wherever our customers are whether it’s online or offline. We have a robust retail presence with strong partnership with our channel partners across the country. Contributing to this network, is our after-sales service including 535 service vans reaching to 3,000 service points and over 6,000 talukas.