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he Indian refrigerator market witnessed high growth with estimated sales at 7.3 million units in 200910.

This was a tremendous 23.7 percent growth over the previous year. The demand for refrigerators is continuously escalating due to the low penetration level in the country and the increase in demand from the rural and semi urban areas. This is supported by the hot extended summers, quite favorable for the increase in the sales of refrigerators. The market continues to be dominated by five brands LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Videocon Group, and Godrej, which capture about 95 percent of the market share.
LG again led the pack with the sale of 1.85 million units, valued at approximately `1,720 crore. LG also held the top position in direct cool and frost free segment with 1,250,000 and 600,000 units, respectively. The company catered mainly to the price conscious segment. Samsung and Whirlpool shared the second position, each commanding a market share of 18.49 percent. The next slot was shared by Videocon Group and Godrej with a market share of 16.44 percent each. The direct cool segment which accounted for 69.8 percent of the market continued to be the volume driver. This segment wit-

nessed a change in competition among the five players with LG in the number one slot. The Videocon Group brands, Godrej, Samsung, and Whirlpool all hovered in the vicinity of sales at 1,000,000 unit each. In the frost free segment LG was the leader among all the brands. Samsung and Whirlpool were neck-to-neck and they were in the vicinity of sales at 500,000 units each. Godrej commanded a share of 11.83 percent with Videocon Group following at approximately 5 percent. The refrigerator market is expected to rake in more money this summer on the back of rising temperature. With the rising mercury heating up expectations, summer launches of refrigerators have become all the more special now. LG Electronics launched 23 models, all new series of DC refrigerators in 215 L, 235 L, and 270 L with innovative features like freeze and cook box, beauty and care box, base stand with drawer among others. Samsung has launched Frrrunch refrigerators range with advanced moisture control cooling technology, ensuring the freshness of naturally fresh fruits and vegetables. Whirlpool launched Protton 3D which is fully automatic 3-door refrigerator for systematic and odor free storage of frozen food, fresh food and vegetables separately. Videocon has plans to launch high-end

72 | TV VEOPAR JOURNAL | APRIL 11 | | An ADI Media Publication

frost free refrigerator of capacities ranging from 400 L to 710 L with many innovative technologies. Godrej has planned to launch more than 100 new SKUs this year and has planned product launches, both in DC and frost free segments. Other aggressive players include BPL, Haier, Hitachi, Panasonic, Siemens, Sharp, and Toshiba. Haier has three new models of BMR refrigerators, two new models of side by side refrigerators, three new models of Amicura refrigerators, and four new models of direct cool refrigerators. Panasonic has plans to launch refrigerators in top segment and also single door refrigerators. Toshiba has plans to re-launch two frost free models in the 380 L and 350 L segment. The makers may not be able to hold prices with increase in CVD/ excise duty and also increase in the prices of raw materials like steel and fuel price, which has a direct impact on both production and transportation cost. Manufacturers are introducing energy efficient products. Star labeled refrigerators are expensive compared to unlabeled ones, because the formers design requires use of high-efficiency compressors/motors and suitably - sized heat exchangers. Hence, the refrigerators have become costlier compared to previous years. With increasing consumer preference for high-end products, the average market price for refrigerators is going up. Inverter technology is gradually making its presence felt in the Indian refrigerator market. Refrigerators using inverter technology run on minimal power overnight and at other times when the fridge-freezer is less used. This saves valuable energy while reserving power for quickly freezing items when needed. The inverter compressor, temperature sensors, and microprocessor technology work together to help the inverter finely adjust the compressor. This means it can operate at the most appropriate power level. And it takes into account the temperature inside the fridge-freezer, to give the best chilling and freezing results without wasting energy.

The frost-free segment of refrigerators has gained immense popularity beyond the traditional two-door refrigerators and now offers sophisticated models. French door, side-by-side, bottom-freezer models are becoming popular. French-door bottomfreezer models feature shelves that span the entire interior with no center divider, so items such as large platters, baking pans, and cookie sheets can be accommodated easily. Bottom freezer refrigerators are conceptualized on the premises that domestic refrigerator users hardly use the freezer as often as they use the main compartment. Placing the main section at eye level reduces the number of times one bends to reach out to vegetable tray, and other shelves lower down in the compartment, to minimum. This allows consumers to make the best use of fresh vegetables as they will be more inclined to reach out to them and incorporate them in their diet if they are at eye level. This also allows them to have a better idea of what food they have and can utilize. Smaller under-counter refrigeration, wine storage, and ice machines are also making their presence felt as they are used not only in the primary kitchen but in secondary kitchens, bar areas, outdoor kitchens, and even bedrooms non-CFC (non-chlrofluorocarbons) refrigerators are also manufactured in India, but the demand for them is less as its manufacturing requires high initial-costs. Consumers are also showing preference for glass door refrigerators. The primary use of refrigerators having glass doors is that their replenishing becomes easier. Since the contents stored are easily noticeable, one can take a count of the things that need to be stocked up. Since the doors are of glass they can be easily cleaned. These types of refrigerators compliment any room. Glass door refrigerators also help eliminate the chances of food items going bad. Any food item that has gone bad, that show discoloration or fugal activity can be easily picked and thrown out. This also prevents the fungal activity from affecting other food items. Aesthetics are rated very high in consumer preferences, particularly in the premium

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range and is becoming an important criteria in differentiating among product offerings and therefore in purchase decisions. In refrigerators, these include new metallic finishes, patterns, new and dual colors, exterior creativity, new handle and body designs, novel shapes, and dual colors. In the enhanced features, other than aesthetics, healthy food preservation and hygiene are the key areas receiving attention, with the market flooded with varied technologies for maintaining nutrition and freshness of both cooked and uncooked food. There are provisions for food items which can be stored at different temperatures and humidity levels, specific to the requirements. There are technologies to generate positive and negative ions to inactivate airborne mold spores and reduce odors arising from propagation of mold; care is taken to ensure that odor from one food item does not travel to the other; humidity is maintained so that the food item stays fresh longer. Water and ice dispenser options and hygiene features such as ionizers, silver ion coatings, antibacterial carbon filters, and blue lights are extensively offered. Compartments with precise temperature and humidity adjustments for increasing food storage times are another value-added feature offered by many manufacturers. Various compartments and accessories such as folding wine racks, sliding shelves, and storage bins under door racks allow better interior volume utilization. The high-end refrigerators feature multipurpose compartments offering customized temperature control, so consumers can make the most of their refrigerator by converting the compartments to meet their immediate needs. In some models, the same compartment can act as both refrigerator and freezer. Refrigerator is likely to be one of the largest single power consumers. In the last few years, there has been a

lot of emphasis on energy norms by BEE. The labeling has been made mandatory for frost free refrigerators. The manufacturers have been quick to respond and last year saw many refrigerators qualifying the 5-star energy rating. The most efficient models available today are significantly more energy efficient, and still improving. Models with top- or bottom-mounted freezers consume less energy than side-by-side designs. Features like through-the-door ice, chilled water, or automatic ice-makers increase the energy consumption, purchase price and also greatly increase energy use and are far more likely to need service and repair. A five-star refrigerator that costs more initially, but costs less per year to operate due to better construction and insulation. While refrigerator makers give it all to create a winning product line, they also need to take a long-term view on which refrigerants and insulation-foam-blowing agents are most environmentally acceptable and practical. By changing some of the components and adopting RoHS, which removes hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, from the manufacturing process, the product becomes easier to recycle. The Indian government has launched a clear roadmap for phasing-out hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) used for air conditioning and refrigeration by 2030, in line with the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. HCFC22 is the predominant substance, used as a refrigerant in India. The sectors using HCFCs in India are experiencing significant growth due to substantial increase in economic activity in the country and resultant GDP growth and therefore the consumption of HCFCs would grow by 1015 percent annually for the next decade. The most significant challenges in phasing out of HCFC are the high cost and unpredictablity of the availability of mature

and proven substitutes; access to technology and funding, for meeting the incremental costs of conversion; and inadequate levels of awareness, capacity and training. Global standards of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment are being brought to India. Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE), and US-based Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) have taken up the task of adapting the AHRI Standards to suit Indian conditions. AHRI has recently signed a tripartite agreement with ISHRAE and the Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Manufacturers Association (RAMA) establishing the basis for cooperation on the development and harmonization of standards and laying the groundwork for cooperation on performance certification programs in the future. The agreement for two years grants the Indian companies non-exclusive, irrevocable licenses to use both current and future AHRI standards, in whole or in part, for the development and use of Indian air-conditioning, heating, and refrigeration equipment testing and rating standards (IAS) in India. The intent is that standards developed, adopted, or modified under this agreement will be adopted by the Bureau of Indian Standards and referenced by the Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency, both of which will ensure widespread use of those standards throughout India. The extended summer and delayed monsoons assisted the manufacturers to log better numbers for the industry in 2009-10. Consumer sentiment is much more positive this year. The economy is now on a strong footing, investments are back, employment is buoyant, and salary increases are reportedly higher. This augments well for the refrigerator industry. Research conducted in May 2010

74 | TV VEOPAR JOURNAL | APRIL 11 | | An ADI Media Publication