While online retailers Flipkart and Amazon claim that they have had the highest festive season sales ever, White goods major Whirlpool of India is witnessing a softness in growth.
According to Managing Director of Whirlpool of India Sunil D'Souza, the growth is not negative, but for the overall industry, the high-single digit would come down to mid-single digit number given the softness.
“The consumer is coming back, we have seen an uptick in the last one week. The e-commerce numbers talk about aggressive growth. Therefore, given where we are, given the recent signs that we see, our portfolio, our advertising and promotions plans and execution, we remain confident of driving growth ahead of the industry; strong double digit as we have always maintained,” D'Souza observed.
The company says the usual festive season uptick started slightly later this time. "We would have expected an uptick in the last week of September, it probably started around October 2 and that’s when we saw the blip going up," he noted.
All the infrastructure work and electrification across the country coupled with the rise in disposable income due to benign inflation would fuel consumption. "The e-commerce numbers also talk about the growth coming from tier-II and III towns. We also see strong growth coming from these markets,” D'Souza pointed out.
Commenting on prices, he said: “I would not say price cuts. India is a
value-conscious country and as long as you give them the right product price combinations you are in a good spot. We have promotions and discounts in line with what happens in the festival season and remain confident that we will be able to hold out both on the topline as well as bottomline in this quarter.”
The company sees online sales growing at a quick pace. “We have always maintained that we will see growth both offline and online. Online will grow faster because it provides convenience of shopping and we have been seeing that over a couple of years; from about 2 percent of our mix 3 years back we are about 10-11 percent of the mix right now. So online is growing much more aggressively. We partner very well with all the big boys online apart from having our own brand store online," D'Souza added.