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“Our Strategy is to Create Functional Awareness in This Category”

It’s been a year since HSIL forayed into the air purifier space with the launch of Moonbow, and president & chief of consumer business Rakesh Kaul, is already targeting a 12-13% share of the growing market. He shared with Sourcing Hardware the market scenario, the company’s distribution strategy and much more…

By Gyanendra Kumar Kashyap

What is the current size of the air-purifier market, and its growth rate? What is the market share of HSIL, and what is the mid-term target that you are looking forward to with the launch of Moonbow?
Worsening levels of air pollution and growing awareness regarding clean and fresh environment has led to the heightened growth prospects of the air purifier segment in India. Though presently the category is nascent, with negligible penetration in the rural markets, growth is projected at a rapid pace as the issue of unhealthy and toxic air is intensifying. This offers the industry a massive opportunity owing to rising disposable incomes, increasing urbanisation and industrialisation and rising health concerns. Studies indicate that the market for air purifiers in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 40.1% for the period of FY’2014 – FY’2019. Since we entered the market only a year ago, in December 2015, it is too early to share any significant numbers but our aim is to garner a 12-13% market share in the next one year.

What is the investment that has been planned for Moonbow, in terms of R&D, advertising, marketing, alliances, etc?
Massive investments are planned for Moonbow and the products in this segment. Since this is a new space for us, we are looking forward to associations and tie-ups that bring in fresh energy, youthfulness and vitality imbibing our brand promise of ‘expect the unexpected’. We continue to invest in developing new and innovative technology as well as designs. Our organisation has continuously invested in strengthening the leadership and keeping the consumers’ needs in mind. Our main focal points would be to invest in best-in-class, state-of-the-art plants for production of different categories, increasing the annual capacity of different plants and streamlining any hindrances to the same, and lastly enhancing our manufacturing efficiency.

Given that the market is still in its infancy, what are the differentiators that HSIL banks upon?
With increasing pollution in cities the need of the hour is ‘fresh air’ which has created a sudden demand for air purifiers. Also, with consumers getting more conscious about health and wellness, especially about the respiratory problems, the air purifier category is poised to grow further and will not require any extra push. The growing urban population, increasing per capita income, rising commercial sector and growing foreign investments in the industrial sector are all anticipated to fuel the demand for air purifiers during the next five years. However, at the same time, there are several other players in the market which will be our biggest challenge.

As a new entrant in this growing category, we are confident that we will reach our predicted market share as we offer our consumers several enhanced value propositions including extended warranty, increased availability and extensive distributor network in tier I and II cities, and presence on online shopping portals. What differentiates us from others is also the technology we offer, as Moonbow air purifiers come with Puri 5 technology, which is a 5-stage filtration process that removes almost all pollutants present in the surrounding air. Along with the advanced technology, these purifiers are compact and classy in design.

Our most recently launched model comes with a built in PM 2.5 meter which gives real time information about the air quality in a particular room. Further, Moonbow purifiers are powered by the highly-efficient True HEPA filters that remove 99.97% microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns, bringing in freshness of pristine forest air into homes. The air purifiers are also fitted with activated Charcoal filter that helps in capturing gases and odours when used in conjunction with the True HEPA filter. Moonbow products are available in five variants that cater to the varied needs of consumers including room sizes, budgets, electricity consumed, etc. With a leading brand like HSIL, the biggest differentiator is the phenomenal support and trust factor that is backed by over five decades of experience. Industry figures and accolades stand testament to the same, making us one of the most trusted and renowned brands in India.

What are the technical specifications of Moonbow purifiers and how are they different from the others available in the market?
As I mentioned earlier, Moonbow offers five variants having varying price points and features as we strive to meet the requirements of customers in the best possible manner keeping in cognizance all their requirements including budget, room size, etc.

Powered by Puri 5 technology, a 5-stage purification process comprising of a Pre Filter, a True HEPA Filter, an Activated Carbon Filter, UV Light and a Refreshing Energizer, Moonbow purifiers capture indoor carcinogenic and ultra-fine particles to ensure availability of fresh air. Further, these purifiers are compact and lightweight, which means they can be placed easily anywhere around the house.

What is the distribution strategy being adopted for Moonbow? What have been the learnings of marketing on e-commerce marketplaces?
Prudent planning and industry foresight work in tandem to help chart out a full-fledged distribution and after sales service strategy for a brand. At HSIL, we take pride in offering a complete range of services from pre and post-sales demo, installation, preventive maintenance, de and re-installation, etc. As a home grown brand with a strong distribution strategy and existing distribution network, we can ensure holistic customer experience. Further, our market presence is bolstered by our in-person contact at customer centers or 24×7 virtual presence through e-mail and website. We have directed distribution across smaller centres through modern trade and online shopping portals and then moved to retail outlets in select cities.

We have kept our digital strategy both search and browse-friendly for promoting the brand across e-commerce marketplaces. This directly helps in maximising the potential audience as we have grown leaps and bounds through e-commerce platforms and have come out on top across leading websites. Consumers have appreciated the style, performance and ease of use of the products. Consumer insight has further helped us in improvising the customer experience and in developing a new product line.

How do you see the competition in this space brewing up?
Like I stated earlier, it is a growing segment with a huge potential for all brands and we have the factor of trust which is very important for all consumer brands.

It’s been close to a year since the brand was launched; what were the challenges that you observed in terms of mindset, consumer buying behaviour, marketing challenges, etc, and how did you address them?
When we started our journey in this segment, people were not aware about the product, its offerings and usage. In fact, very few people even knew the benefits of installing air purifiers in their house or workplace. However, due to the rapidly degrading air quality in the major cities, the awareness and demand has risen exponentially.

Indian consumers are not really sure about how air purifiers function and how they would benefit from them, hence it’s extremely important to educate them and address their doubts. This will get them to feel confident about investing their money in purchasing air purifiers.

How difficult is it to convince people to buy air purifiers, and what has been HSIL‘s communication strategy in this regard?
Growing demand and awareness among consumers have opened opportunities in the air purifier market, but the biggest challenge is the lack of awareness about the benefits of the product. Our marketing campaign will focus on creating functional awareness about the product benefits as well as creating awareness about the brand. We will reach out to the consumer both offline and online through various mediums like print, digital, TVC, etc. We have developed and placed some live demo units which showcase the purification process across Evok stores in Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Mumbai, etc. Many more initiatives are being taken to impart knowledge about the air purifier category to the consumers ')}

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