With restrictions in place on the entry of maids, the demand for home appliances has gone up.
Retailers say dishwashers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners are selling in higher numbers than before.
The first lockdown was announced towards the end of March. When it became apparent that the restrictions would continue beyond the first 14 days, the demand for dishwashers started rising.
Dishwashers can clean porcelain, steel, and even plastic utensils that can take the hot water and rinsing. Around 36 pieces (bowls, soup bowls, plates and spoons) can be washed in about 20 minutes. “The luxuries of yesterday are the necessities of today,” says Naveen Giria, director of retail outlet Girias.
“Dishwashers are in huge demand, almost 10 times more than in March,” he says.
Shops are out of stock as they were not ready for such a spike in demand, says Giria. Sales of washing machines and vacuum cleaners have gone up too, but not on the same scale as dishwashers.
Vivek, department manager (home appliances and entertainment), Reliance Digital, Banaswadi says the sale of washing machines and vacuum cleaners has risen by at least 20 per cent. However, the top-selling item remains the dishwasher.
“We have run out of dishwashers, and are waiting for new stocks,” he says.
Maids leaving town
Many domestic workers left the city when the lockdown was announced, and people wanted to be self-reliant when it comes to household work, says Paras Jain, managing director of Adishwar, another chain selling home appliances.
“Homes started purchasing appliances to replace people because of the scare of the pandemic, and also because of the unavailability of human resources,” he says. Also, with families stuck at home, they realised their appliances needed upgrading or replacement, Jain says.
“After the lockdown was announced, we have seen an 18 per cent increase in sales compared to before March,” he says. His figures relate to three appliances: dishwashers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners.
Raj Kumar Pai, managing director of Pai International, says the demand for dishwashers is now ‘phenomenal.’
“They were sold in fewer numbers earlier,” he says. “The sales have gone up five times.”
Among washing machines, larger load units have seen a 30 per cent increase in monthly sales since March, Pai says.
“Earlier, the domestic help used to wash clothes. Now, people do their own washing, and are moving towards a weekly washing routine,” he says, explaining the demand for bigger washing machines.
The increasing number of Covid-19 cases will mean people will be apprehensive about getting outsiders home, and thus sales will increase further, he reckons.
At TTK Prestige, the demand for vacuum cleaners is twice as much as it was before the lockdown.
“Our customers are mostly between 25 and 45 years,” says Chandru Kalro, marketing director, TTK Prestige.
Some popular dishwasher brands are Bosch, Kaff, LG, IFB and Siemens.
The demand for laptops has also gone up not just because of work from home but also because of online classes for school and college students.
Ramya Girish, a homemaker from HSR Layout, didn’t have a maid during the lockdown, which led her to buying a dishwasher.
“We are a household of 10 people, with elders and children who keep using glasses and cups for snacks and meals. The dishwasher helped. Now, even though our house help is back, we have told her not to do the dishes,” she says.
Dishwasher prices start at Rs 30,000 and all the way go up to Rs 60,000. Both online and offline stores offer discounts on the MRP.-Deccan Herald