Consumer spending, boosted by Covid-19 vaccinations and progressive government stimuli, rounds up the year gone by. 2021 was yet another pandemic-induced year, but on the brighter side consumer durables industry’s migration to digital platforms was accelerated. With the rise in demand for value proposition, smarter and connected appliances through omni-channels, India’s ₹75,000 crore appliances and consumer electronics (ACE) industry continues to rise on a positive growth trajectory and we see this trend continuing in 2022. A RedSeer report further validates this, by stating that the digital-enabled general trade in the durables category will continue to grow rapidly too, accounting for approximately $3.8 billion in procurement by 2025. I believe, despite mild hiccups, specifically with respect to shortage of PCBs caused due to global supply chain issues the situation will hopefully normalise by second half of 2022.

Technology has already played a crucial role in propelling the growth in the past few years and next decade will truly be disruptive with the use of new-age technologies, such as AI, ML, IoT, robotics to name a few. This has given rise to digital consumers who are seeking connected, comfortable, convenient and safer appliances that help them multitask. For instance, air purification technology across ACs not only cools the room but, also ensures healthy and safer indoor AQI. We see this demand continue to rise even in 2022 with the deteriorating AQI and concerns over virus and bacteria in urban India. Primarily due to healthier and safer lifestyle choices, consumers today are opting for appliances that meet their customised needs. Furthermore, DIY trends have led to rise in demand for zero-oil microwaves, or, refrigerators that offer better energy savings, large storage capacities, connected experience to name a few. 2021 and onwards, consumers have shifted towards value-proposition.

On the shopfront, omni-channel or click-and-mortar route will continue to be the way forward. While offline channels continue to play a major role in purchase (as Indian consumers prefer to touch and feel), we find that 46% of consumers watch videos and do research online before buying as per the latest RedSeer report. The way forward for retailers will be video-powered omni-channel shopping. This will help bridge the gap between traditional e-commerce and physical channels. Retailers cannot ignore the new-age digital platforms and tools such as social media, smartphone and chat bot marketing. Not only it helps in brand-building and widening your reach but also, engage with India’s young consumer base.

The second step, in my view, for consumer durable brands is the constant need to innovate, make the maximum use of new-age technologies, devise anticipatory measures than reactive strategies to keep a check on supply chain volatilities such as raw material costing, risk of overstocking, rising price for raw materials, chip shortage, or energy and logistics. At the same time, manufacturers must make the maximum use of conducive government policies such as PLI, M-SIPS etc., to boost their business and thereby, our economy.

I see a similar phenomenon at the enterprise front too. Businesses are opting for connected, automated, clean/green energy, energy efficient, safer solutions that help them enhance their overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). This will only accelerate in the coming years. Smart commercial spaces equipped with sustainable technologies such as connected, automated appliances, solar rooftops, digital panels etc., will be the next frontier of growth. Similarly, on the manufacturing front, factories will continue to digitise their operations to stay relevant in coming times. Therefore, smart factory solutions that helps bring shop-floor to manufacturer's palm will be the defining trend in the years to come.

To conclude, we as responsible leaders of the industry have a key role to play. Together we must join handswith the Governmentto help position India on the global manufacturing map.

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