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Whirlpool’s Growth Algorithm Is All About Strategic Bets On New Products, Distribution

Consumer durable player Whirlpool India is planning an aggressive focus on the expansion of its product portfolio and distribution.

Under its product expansion plan, it will look to plug gaps in its portfolio, enter new segments and become a stronger player in the existing categories. For instance, over the next few weeks, it will be focussing on strengthening its play in the 5-star washing machine segment.

“Unlike players that are launching limited SKUs (stock keeping units) of 5-star washing machines, for us, nearly 95 percent of our portfolio is now 5-star,” said Sunil D’Souza, MD, Whirlpool India. “Over the next 30-60 days it will get more visible on the shop floors.”

New water-purifier

Whirlpool is also eyeing a bigger pie of the water-purifier category, where it has been present for some time now, with a new product range which comes with DIY (do-it-yourself) filter replacement technology.

Talking about the company’s overall growth strategy, D’Souza said: “We have been investing significantly to build a strong product plan. We had said our plan was to launch a new product every two months and we continue to do that. We have been taking very targeted actions in expanding our portfolio. We have identified segments and categories where our market share is lower and built a healthy product pipeline to tackle the issue.”

“For instance, we felt there was a need to strengthen the premium end of the direct cool refrigerators range. So we introduced a new range with auto defrost technology at the top end. We have also launched a new range of side-by-side refrigerators and four door refrigerators at the premium end leveraging our China plants,” he added.

The company had invested about Rs. 180 crore in the previous fiscal. In the first six months of the current fiscal, it invested about Rs. 136 crore to back its product launch and marketing strategy. “We have been consistently growing our share over the last four years and we will continue to maintain that. This investment in capacity and product is translating in topline growth for us,” D’Souza observed.

Niche segments

The company has been similarly ramping up its presence in segments such as frontload washing machines, especially at the entry-level. It is also venturing into new niche segments such as dishwashers, chest freezers, bar refrigerators and wine coolers besides air-purifiers.

“We will be focusing on the air-conditioners segment far more aggressively in the next summer season compared to the previous season,” D’Souza further said.

Whirlpool India has also grown its market share through targeted measures taken to grow distribution in certain geographies in a strategic manner. “We also focussed on targeted action to increase our market share in geographies where it maybe lower. In Bihar, for instance, our share has been up nearly 2.5 times in the past two years. Similarly, in Delhi, our share has grown 50-60 percent,” he added.―The Hindu Business Line

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