Growth of Indian consumer electronics industry

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The demand for the latest electronic devices has been trending for many years and will continue to grow for many more years. According to Market Watch, India’s electronics exports could reach $180 billion by 2025, up from just $11.28 billion in 2019-20. Westinghouse India’s mission is to power people by providing sustainable energy and reliable home appliances, lighting and electronics. Westinghouse India products are designed with innovative and functional features that create value and a reliable user experience for customers and partners around the world.

CXOToday in conversation with Shipra Dubey, brand consultant at Westinghouse India

How do you see the growth of the electronic export market?

  • The ongoing war, the border dispute, the export tariffs, the pandemic, all these factors combined have made it clear to the whole world that dependence should never be on a single country for the supply of electronics and all other items as well. Thus, countries that previously only depended on China for the supply of raw and finished goods have started looking for alternatives. India therefore has a lot of opportunities if it can meet the current global demands. Electronics industry veterans have already begun to come together to have in-house manufacturing and address shortages of chips, panels and semiconductors. We are not only setting up our own manufacturing units, but we will also produce goods to meet the requirements of other countries. The Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) has previously stated that India’s electronics exports could potentially reach $180 billion by 2025, up from just $11.28 billion in 2019- 20.

What strategies have you devised to understand customer behavior in today’s tough economic environment?

  • Our main goal is to bring 130 year old American heritage to India in an affordable luxury segment. We plan to become a household name for making life better through technology. For this, we mainly rely on customer data and feedback. How would you know what sells the most, what the customer wants, what is the ideal price for details like what day should be your sales day, when to start offers to attract customers, that and many more Demand-driven product offerings can be reached by tracking data. This not only gives you a competitive advantage, but also allows you to provide a personalized experience and curated assortment to your loyal customers. It can definitely go a long way in setting a long-term vision and improving the shopping experience.

Electronics is a competitive segment in India. How do you design to meet the competition?

  • Although we are a company over a century old, we are still new to the Indian market and there are already existing players. However, what works in our favor is that people are aware of our century-old heritage, so getting into the retail business is not much of a challenge, however, we would like to take our time to make the right choice by terms of having a business partner. Westinghouse has a long-term strategy for the Indian market and we would like to focus on steady growth. We are not here to compete with other brands in the market but we plan to focus on creating a consumer electronics segment keeping in mind the demand of every Indian household. We are also aware that there are not many American electronic brands in India and we plan to fill this gap.

What do you think of the growing electronic components market in India?

  • While the electronics industry is on the path to growth, existing manufacturers and retailers can actually benefit a lot due to the paradigm shift. The best lesson we’ve all learned from the pandemic is that we need to have in-house manufacturing units. Due to the pandemic and the closure of businesses, several manufacturers and retailers have struggled to meet demand. For example, semiconductors and panels were so scarce in India that the television industry was months behind because parts were not available. Manufacturing units are already being established to meet internal demands. If they could increase their scale and be quick to seize upcoming opportunities to meet global demands as well, it could become their next big thing.

What role does the pro-manufacturing ecosystem play in making consumer electronics affordable.

  • As the consumer embraces the latest technologies, the government works as an enabler by helping to create the required ecosystem. It emphasizes future technologies as well as renewable energies, sustainable manufacturing from local products, reduced or even exempted taxes, in certain segments, during the first years. Many major manufacturers see India as an excellent investment option. The conducive environment will lead to increased manufacturing. The government, through its PLI tax exemption scheme and Make in India initiative, is giving a boost to the manufacturing ecosystem in India. The results are already visible, India is now one of the largest telecommunications manufacturers. The growth of manufacturing in various electronic segments has provided a wide range of products at different price points, from entry-level to high-end to luxury. Pro-manufacturing has certainly made consumer electronics more affordable as there isn’t much dependence on trade tariffs, high customs duties being added.

How do you see international brands being trusted in India.

  • Consumers today are not only early adopters, they also spend a considerable amount of time understanding the latest technologies. In the era of globalization, nothing remains forgotten for them. Consumer products in the electronics segment is a category where people only want to go with very selective brands. That said, there were the same big names that were available in this space so far. However, seeing the boom in the segment, several international brands are now eyeing the Indian market in partnership mode. For the Indian consumer, trust is an important factor. Dell, Colgate, Maggi still hold the largest share in their respective segments being an international brand because now there is a trust that has developed. It comes down to consistency and quality. International brands entering the Indian market that can sustain themselves while providing quality products will surely gain the trust of the Indian consumer.

What is Westinghouse India doing to prepare for future growth?

  • Today’s consumer is well-travelled, well-read, technology-loving, and more aware of their needs and demands. Brand value is definitely important to them, but quality, functionality, and usability are more important. Although being a 130 year old company, we are still new to the Indian market. What works in our favor is that people are aware of our century-old heritage, so getting into the retail business isn’t really that hard and we’re already in conversation with some leading companies. However, we would like to take our time to make the right choice in terms of having a business partner. Westinghouse has a long-term strategy for the Indian market and we would like to focus on steady growth. As the company that pioneered the modern power grid over 100 years ago, we strive to improve everyday life with products that bring people together for the moments that matter.
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