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Dishwasher brands in India struggle to meet sudden spike in demand

If you thought only hygiene products like hand sanitizers and toilet papers flew off the shelves amid the pandemic, think again. The demand for dishwashers in India also saw a sudden spike as Covid-19 restricted movement of domestic helps, leading many brands to ask for more supplies.

Sales of dishwashers in India in the past few years have been flat due to several factors including lack of familiarity with the product category and awareness. Space constraints in the kitchen and availability of cheap labour are other major factors that prevented the product from becoming a must-have like a refrigerator or a microwave oven.

Covid-19 changed that all of a sudden. Perhaps forever.

“With the onset of the pandemic, the dishwasher category has already seen an upward trend with users realising the varied benefits of the product,” Neeraj Bahl, Managing Director and CEO, BSH Home Appliances, told IANS.

“It is safe to say that the sales of dishwashers have finally taken off in India making them the low-key heroes of the lockdown,” he said, adding that BSH is currently actively driving the dishwasher category in India as market leader, enjoying over 60 per cent of the market share.

Germany-headquartered BSH has been under the sole ownership of the Bosch Group since January 2015 after its acquisition of Siemens’s 50 percent share.

However, the sudden spike in demand has also led many families to realise that the dishwashers they wanted were not always readily available.

Noida resident Rakhee said she is looking for a dishwasher, “but there is an acute shortage of dishwashers both online and at retail stores.”

“I suddenly see a lot of demand coming from my friends’ circles for dishwashers sans maids,” she told IANS.

“The demand for the product has been so overwhelming that almost all brands have been stocked out for the past couple of months and the market’s hunger for stocks is still far from satiated,” said Hardesh Chojher, Senior Director – Marketing, Exports and R&D, Franke Faber India.

“We estimate the category to be growing in the region of 300-400 per cent from March onwards, a trend that we believe is unlikely to reverse anytime soon,” Chojher said.

Franke Faber India is a leading kitchen appliances manufacturer with Swiss and Italian parentage for the “Franke” and “Faber” brands respectively.

BSH said “supply has been a point of concern” due to the demand rise, but said that it was able to manage the market expectations with pre-bookings.

“Since the lockdown, we have witnessed a surge in the demand for dishwashers and we expect to continue seeing this surge. These orders were fulfilled as and when the lockdown started to lift from regions in a phased manner,” Bahl said.

“With the Covid-19 outbreak things are not as we planned them to be for the year 2020. It has been a tough time for the consumer durable industry. Our business was impacted strongly for about two months,” he said.

Bahl said that the demand “has been unprecedented and its global factories are receiving requests from other markets as well, due to which supply has been a point of concern for us.”

Claiming that “Bosch is world’s No. 1 dishwasher brand,” Bahl said that the Bosch dishwashers maintain a high level of hygiene while washing dishes and utensils.

To tap into the rising demand, Havells India’s consumer durable brand Lloyd is now planning to launch a new range of dishwashers ahead of the festive season starting at Rs 22,990.

The new dishwasher range will be available in four sizes of 8,13,14 and 15 place settings, the company said.

“Due to the work-from-home regime, consumers are searching for an alternative way to substitute for lack of domestic help available for household chores. This has led to increased demand for convenience household appliances like dishwashers,” said Shashi Arora, CEO, Lloyd.

“Dishwasher category, while still a nascent one, is expected to grow significantly, to three-four times its current size in the coming years,” he said. Daiji World

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