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TV Prices Dip On Entry Of Online-Only Brands

The list of TV brands in India is getting fatter with some estimates putting the number of companies which are vying for the Indian consumer at nearly 100.

As older, but well-entrenched, players such as LG, Samsung and Sony try hard to protect market share, new entrants are making inroads, banking on a wider sales reach through esellers, while striking partnerships with internet content players such as Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube.

The entry of no-frills online-only brands, most of which are assembled here after parts are imported from China and elsewhere, has resulted in prices taking a major hit. The cutthroat pricing strategy was successfully adopted by Chinese giant Xiaomi, which gradually encouraged a number of brands to follow suit.

So, there is a long list of makers who are trying to make a mark in the Indian TV market that is estimated at around 13-15 million units annually. These include Sansui, Sanyo, Metz, Motorola, Blaupunkt, Kodak, Thomson, Detel, Akai, Aiwa, Zexmon, Mitashi, Telefunken. Apart from these, companies such as Vu, Philips, OnePlus and many private-label brands of large retailers are also vying for new customers, and so are numerous regional brands.

Demand has been coming not only from the larger metros, but also from Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, thanks to a wider reach provided by platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.

And, festive season is putting more pressure on pricing. “For brands, festive sales are a great way to reach out to the maximum number of consumers who come online to shop. As far as customers are concerned, the platform offers a one-stop shop to get deals at attractive prices,” says Karan Bedi, CEO of Blaupunkt TV.

Homegrown companies also expect a healthy traction, especially on the back of local manufacturing and R&D. “Strong local consumer insights and understanding of local sales channels is the added advantage for local companies,” Pradeep Jain, MD of Jaina group (Sansui) says.

Electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said the government expects manufacturing of TVs will get a fillip through recent interventions of the government. “We have done away with import duty on open-cell (a key component for smart TVs), while lowering corporate tax rate for new units. This will help us get higher investments and enhanced manufacturing and jobs.”

Navkendar Singh of IDC said assembling TVs is relatively easy, especially when compared to technicalities involved in making a smartphone. “But remember it’s a tough market, there will be exits.”

“More than 50% of such brands will die, and may not even survive for one full year. There is stiff competition, and it will not be easy. Only those who have a factory and local R&D will survive,” said Mike Chen, MD of TCL. Chen said customer service and after-sales will be a key differentiator. “Customers should be careful and not go only for prices. They can get hurt.”

Sushovit Ranjan, head of business at Metz TV, said consolidation will “surely” happen. “Also, companies will need to develop an offline sales strategy, and online can’t be the only solution.” Times of India

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