Every Second Fan Exported From India is an Orient: Atul Jain

  • Orient Electric has started setting up exclusive experience zones for its products in India
  • The company is betting big on embedding IoT in consumer electronics
Atul Jain, SVP and Business Head, Fans, Orient Electric

Atul Jain (AJ), SVP and Business Head, Fans, Orient Electric, in an exclusive conversation with Electronics For You shared his thought on the changes in the ceiling fans vertical in India. He feels that ceiling fans are no more just mere necessities but products that have already created a revolution in India.

He said, “Consumers are willing to spend higher on the products that make their experiences better and life easier while also offering them the pride of ownership. Much like people flaunt their rides and other luxury possessions, they are now opting for premium appliances including fans to make a lifestyle statement.”

Here are some more interesting excerpts from the interaction

Que 1 – Tell us something about your smart fan offering? Is there a market for such fans in the country?

AJ – Orient Aeroslim is India’s first smart ceiling fan which is IoT-enabled and can be controlled via Orient Smart mobile app. It puts comfort and control at users’ fingertips by giving them the freedom to remotely manage fan speed and modes, reverse rotation and under-light with dimming options. On top of that, it is compatible with voice assistants – Alexa and Google Assistant – thus taking convenience a notch higher. So next time if you are feeling too lazy to get out of the bed or pick your smartphone, you can simply ask Alexa to turn on the fan and do much more such as manage the speed, lighting and fan modes. Isn’t that convenient?

Other key highlights of Aeroslim fan include aerodynamically designed blades, one-of-a-kind slim cylindrical design, telescopic adjustable mounting to suit varied ceiling heights, energy-efficient inverter motor ensuring 40% energy savings, PU paint with hydrographic finish and an elegant dimmable under-light.

Que 2 – How has been the demand for Aeroslim Fans?

AJ – Aeroslim has turned out to be a huge success, with an overwhelming demand coming in from all over the country. With advancements in technology and premiumisation gathering pace, we are confident that the market for premium fans is posed for an impressive growth in India.

Que 3 – What major trends have you witnessed in the sales of ceiling fans in India in the last two years?

AJ – With rising incomes and aspirations, along with increased exposure to digital & global lifestyle, we are witnessing an ever-increasing demand for premium products in the market and fans are no exception.

Consumers are willing to spend higher on the products that make their experiences better and life easier while also offering them the pride of ownership. Much like people flaunt their rides and other luxury possessions, they are now opting for premium appliances including fans to make a lifestyle statement.

Que 4 – Have you noticed any changes in the technologies used in ceiling fans?

AJ – Now we have fans with aerodynamic design, which give up to 25 per cent more air delivery, this can help reduce the need for air conditioning in the hilly areas or places with dry weather. Air delivery, which was earlier in the range of 220-240 CMM has increased now to 300 CMM.

Fans today also make less noise which has been made possible with the aerodynamic design of the blades, concentric winding technology and use of ABS body. Fan motor design has also gone slimmer over the years which helps in making fans with slim and sleek designs so that they blend seamlessly with the interiors.

Que 5 – Can you name one technology that is gaining the most traction in ceiling fans vertical?

AJ – That definitely is IoT! With IoT gaining popularity, people are increasingly adopting smart home devices which can be easily controlled using smartphones, voice assistants or tabs. Such swift is the shift that even the most common cooling appliance like fan has gone smart. In line with the trend, we have introduced IoT-enabled Aeroslim fan which is being widely appreciated by the consumers.

Another trend we see in the segment is the increasing demand for energy efficient fans wherein inverter (BLDC) technology, star ratings etc. come into play. Today we have fans with inverter motor which consume 40-50 per cent less energy as compared to the ordinary fans. From a modest assumption, if every new ceiling fan sold has inverter technology, India could potentially save 2800 GWh of energy every year.

We have also introduced a new range of portable bladeless and lifestyle fans keeping in mind the emerging latent need for safer portable fans for kids, need for better air circulation in air-conditioned rooms and increasing lifestyle needs for personalized air e.g., cooling in confined spaces like puja rooms, study areas etc.

Que 6 – What is the industry size and how big is the opportunity?

AJ – The total size of fan market in India is around 55-60 million units, of which organised fans constitute 40-45 million. The fan market in India consists of ceiling fans, table fans, wall fans, pedestal fans, exhaust fans and multi-utility fans.

With India being a big tropical country experiencing hot and humid weather almost all year round, fans are more of a requirement, which accounts for the growth of this industry over the years. However, new challenges have emerged in this sector by dint of quickly changing consumers’ preferences and technology-based differentiation. While performance is already a given parameter for consumers, they are exploring how a fan can add to the glamour quotient. This is why premium fans segment is growing fast and we are seeing more and more brands tuning to the shift, offering fans with distinct form and features to lure the Indian consumer.

Que 7 – How big are innovations like BLDC motor, hot and cool air fans etc.?

AJ – As I mentioned earlier, with consumers getting more aware about energy consumption, there has been a notable increase in the demand for energy efficient fans over the years. The use of BLDC motor, also referred to as inverter technology, in fans ensures 40-50% energy savings in comparison to ordinary induction motor-based fans.

Fans today also comes equipped with reversible motor which allows users to adjust the rotation of the blades to reverse the airflow during the summer and winter season to enjoy cold air and warm air respectively. This is an interesting feature in fans which needs to be highlighted to the consumers.

Que – 8 Are there any changes in the channel distribution strategies?

AJ – Sale of fans is predominantly retailed by multi-brand outlets accounting to about 70 to 80 per pent of the total sales. In the last few years, some of the major retail chains have also started selling our fans. Penetration is increasing in rural markets which further gives fillip to the demand. We are also looking at B2B sales channels.

E-commerce in India is one big phenomenon and it’s getting bigger and better with each passing year. Indian consumers are getting more and more comfortable buying all kinds of products online and fans are no exception. With an aim to aggressively increase our market share in the online space, we are selling our products through our own e-commerce portal as well as through other leading marketplaces.

As part of our retail visibility drive, we have also started setting up exclusive Orient display Zones with an aim to grab dedicated retail space in premium outlets across the country. We are also opening up exclusive, franchised stores known as “Orient Electric Smart Shops” across the country.

Que – 9 Can India become a major exporter of ceiling fans? How? Which countries export too?

AJ – India is a big exporter of ceiling fans and Orient Electric has over 60 per cent market share in that. Every second fan exported out of India is an Orient fan. We have a dominant presence in over 35 countries.

We have a sizeable market share in The Middle East and Africa and are also quickly expanding our presence in South Asia. We are also focusing on new emerging markets as well as the developed markets in the Americas.

Author – Mukul Yudhveer Singh. An avid reader, Mukul finds peace in books and technology. He’s as passionate about writing as he is about playing cricket and hitting the gym. If not writing or reading, you will most likely find him drawing tattoo designs or analyzing political campaigns.