In India, because of Covid, we not only lost human lives but the pandemic has also affected businesses and big companies. One such company is Godrej Appliances. To talk about the impact and future plans journalist Anurag Sason has an in-depth conversation with Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice president at Godrej Appliances.
Here are important excerpts from the exclusive interview. Scroll down to watch the complete interview.
Q1) How badly has Covid affected Godrej Appliances in India?
Kamal Nandi: Every sector across industries has got impacted. Our sector also got hit-both during wave one and wave two. The impact was more severe during wave one and then wave two.
Q2) By when sales will be normal?
Kamal Nandi: We have already seen signs of recovery. In July, we saw a spike in demand. At our brand level, we saw a growth of over 70%. At the industry level, we saw a growth of over 40%. And we feel this trend will continue in the months of August and September.
Q3) Godrej is the first company that manufactured fridges in India. Earlier it was imported. Any other big plans like this?
Kamal Nandi: We were always promoting self-reliant India. And now we got a new drive by our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi-Make in India. I think this phenomenon will really change the entire landscape of manufacturing, especially for our industry in this country. If you look at our industry, we have been operating in a space where majority of products and components are being. But that has changed over the last 3-4 years. Specifically, in Godrej, 90 to 95% of products are being manufactured indigenously.
We are trying to reduce our dependence on imports drastically. Over the last four years, we have invested more than a thousand crore into modernising our manufacturing, expanding our capacities, and increasing our footprint of more and more products.
Q4) Is the Godrej appliances planning to introduce some new products in the future?
Kamal Nandi: Yes, if you look at our journey during the pandemic… let me just talk about the pandemic because it is really important in today’s scenario. During the pandemic we observed two trends-one consumer getting more concerned about health, hygiene, and effort minimising gadgets.
Last year we launched products like viroshield.
As fear of Covid, we were not allowing our maids. So last year the demand for dishwashers spiked up. About five-six times the demand shot up. So we launched dishwashers online last year and offline this year. We also bought a lot of technologies in our product like nano-coated surface disinfectants, UV rays, etc.
Q5) Make in India is the new talk of the town these days. How Godrej is planning to compete with the new players who are entering the market?
Kamal Nandi: See we are anyway in a very competitive space in our industry. We have more than 47 players in our industry and out of them 21 or 23 are multinationals. But the biggest opportunity that we see is the penetration level. The penetration level of appliances in India is very low. In India, the penetration level of refrigerators is only 30%, washing machines only 10%, air-conditioners just 5-6 %. If you compare this with any developed market, let’s say China, refrigerators are there in 85 to 90% of the houses, washing machines are there in 75% of the households, air-conditioners are there in 65 to 70% of the households. So the potential to grow in this market is immense. As the economy strengthening affordability of the Indian consumers is also going up and therefore we clearly see a lot of space to grow.
What will define who will be the winner in this competitive world is what sort of values you are offering to a consumer and at what price. So it’s a value price equation. Any brand that can offer the best of value at the most affordable price will finally win in this competitive space. I think that’s our endeavour. We know Indian consumers very well.
Q6) How difficult or easy it is for Godrej Appliances to satisfy a consumer in India?
Kamal Nandi: A consumer looks at experience with the brand. If experience is good, consumer is happy. So our focus has been to provide the best of experience. Our whole philosophy of product development is to make things thoughtfully. Our innovations have been really based on the Indian lifestyle, habits, and needs of a consumer.
Q7) How do you see the prospects of business in India in the coming next 10 years?
Kamal Nandi: You must have already heard the vision of our honourable Prime Minister that we are going to be an economy which will be top five down the line 5 years/10 years. A lot of development work in that direction is already happening in terms of infrastructure, in terms of capabilities, digital, and IT. The whole plethora of PLI schemes have been brought in to encourage manufacturing, in the country, both at the finished good level and component ecosystem level.
Very clearly we are seeing that India to become completely self-reliant and a strong manufacturing hub for the world in the next 5 to 10 years. I see more it happening in the next five years than in the 10 years, I would say. And clearly, I would say that as a country, as an industry we will not only manufacture for India but we will manufacture for the whole world.
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About the author: Anurag Sason is journalist with more than 9 years of experience in mainstream journalism. He has worked in newspaper, news agency, TV and digital media. Presently, he is working as Senior Editor-News in Likee app. He tweets at @AnuragSason
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