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AC companies set for record biz as mercury soars

With the heatwave hitting most parts of northwest India and temperatures hovering at 40 degrees Celsius in several parts of the country, the demand for ACs has reached record levels. Sales are expected to have crossed over 15 lakh units in just the month of March.

AC makers such as Panasonic, Voltas, LG and Lloyds say that 2022 is expected to be a bumper year for the industry. They add the surge has come after two years of struggle due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions, and that sales could be in record numbers now.

“The pent-up demand is very strong and the AC market is getting bigger than pre-pandemic levels. If the industry had hit a peak sales volume of 7. 5 million units in 2019, the pre-pandemic period, we expect the overall numbers to be 9. 2-9. 5 million units this year,” Manish Sharma, chairman of Panasonic’s India and South Asia operations, told TOI. “We expect to create a record this year, though supply constraints are a concern. ”

Penetration of ACs in the country currently remains low, estimated at around 6%, though companies feel that the push to economic activity and accessibility of regular electricity supplies across smaller towns and cities will lead to higher adoption. Searing heat and changes in climate patterns are other factors aiding demand. Voltas, one of the country’s biggest AC makers, says that traction is very strong. “We expect an intense summer this year… With a strong March coming in due to an early summer, the secondary offtake had been much better last month, and continues to gain better traction in April,” Pradeep Bakshi, MD &CEO of Voltas, says.

Deepak Bansal, head of home appliances and ACs at LG India, says that demand has been strong in states such as Delhi, U P, Rajasthan, Haryana and Maharashtra.

Ravinder Zutshi, president at Havells that runs the Lloyd brand, says that the company sold a record 2. 5 lakh AC units in March. “The build-up has been very strong, and we hope to get even stronger demand in the coming months.”

Gurmeet Singh, chair- man and MD of Johnson Controls-Hitachi AC India, says that factors such as the government’s emphasis on domestic manufacturing, the introduction of PLI schemes, and the favourable consumer sentiments towards ACs due to educationand work-from-home culture also drove the unprecedented growth of the industry.

However, just while demand increases, companies are troubled by the shortage of supplies in parts and components. The lockdown in China due to rising Covid cases as well as increase in costs of inputs has been a concern for the companies, which are hoping that supplies ease. News India

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