Micromax, which entered the consumer electronics segment a few years ago, will now start manufacturing its air conditioners entirely in India while expanding its offerings across other segments. The company has announced the launch of a smart television range certified by Google, along with top loading washing machines and new air conditioners.
“With local manufacturing, the idea is to have full control and obviously benefit from the cost advantages which we will pass on to the customer,” Rohan Agarwal, director, Micromax told indianexpress.com, adding that Micromax wants to “grow under the Make in India” initiative. “We are not one of those who will just import and brand itself. We want to create solid foundations.”
“In air-conditioning, we are setting up our entire manufacturing facility in India,” Agarwal said, adding that the company’s manufacturing unit at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan is being upgraded for the same. “We will use our existing setup and train the existing workforce. We will also hire new people.”
Agarwal said the new televisions will all be Google Certified, which means they will have the latest software and native apps as well as get the latest updates. “Customers now prefer OTT applications like Netflix and Amazon Prime as viewing patterns have changed over time from cable to digital satellite to now VOD,” Agarwal said, explaining why the company will now start exiting from non-smart television above 32 inches.
“We will basically focus on the Google Certified experience as we believe this is the next wave in the television industry,” he said, adding that the new televisions will be in sizes between 32 and 55 inches were from 43 inches onwards there will be UHD offerings.
Interestingly, Agarwal said the difference between smart televisions and regular panels was now coming down and the user was also seeing value in going for TVs that let then watch content when they want to. “The price gap used to be about Rs 3,000, but has been coming down. Now all the VOD applications are coming in and data has become cheap and we see a lot of people are shifting up the chain.”
However, Agarwal said the 4K UHD market, though growing, was still a niche one. “For the Indian market, I would say that for the medium sizes, which is 32 and 40 and 43 inches, I don’t see people moving to 4K collision. But from 48 to 85 inches, people are definitely considering this.”
Agarwal also highlighted the fact that while Micromax’s new products will have competitive pricing, they will not be cheap. “We will not be the cheapest brand. But, yes, we will be competitively priced. The idea is to give an experience the customer can’t get at the moment.” While Micromax is hoping for 60:40 ratio of offline and online sales, there will be online SKUs that offers a little bit extra for the more discerning customer.
For Micromax, the consumer electronics business with its television, washing machine and air-conditioner segments, accounts for about 35 per cent of the company. “But we would like to simultaneously grow the electronics segment and our mobile business as well,” Agarwal said. Once, these segments are stable, the company is hoping to roll out its refrigerators too, “maybe in the next two to three years”.
“With these products, it is more of a customer service experience that has to be given rather than innovation because there is very little that you can innovate on. What a customer needs is a durable product and a proper service channel which you can turn to when your AC stops working because it is 50 degrees outside. With our local manufacturing, the idea is to have the entire control over the company.”