We expect 25 percent growth this Diwali: MD Panasonic India

    Manish Sharma, MD, Panasonic India
    Manish Sharma, MD, Panasonic India

    What strategy is your company going to adopt to target rural India during Diwali?
    Rural markets are likely to outpace growth in the urban markets led by increasing penetration across categories such as refrigerators and washing machines. The growth ,coming from rural market, will be led by factors like increasing rural income, increased distribution reach of consumer durable companies, customised products for rural consumers, improved rural infrastructure, and power availability.

    Panasonic has 180 exclusive brand shops pan-India and total 1,115 unique service centres to provide one-stop solutions. We, currently, have 31 branch offices and 90 active P4 (Panasonic Premium Partner Program) outlets spread across the country and we are now looking to expand in the coming years. With an aim to reach out to the rural consumers in the simplest ways, we have been focusing on both ATL and BTL activities. We introduce various of promotional activities in our stores especially during festivals.

    Have you finalised any particular offer/offers for consumers for the festival? If so, please describe.
    To uplift the festive spirit, Panasonic commenced the festive season special schemes with the Onam celebration. We have announced exciting consumer promotion offers like assured gifts with top of the line Viera TVs and Home Appliance products. Our consumers can also avail rewarding finance schemes on 28-inch and above Viera models and one year warranty +1 year comprehensive warranty with specific Viera TV models.

    What are your expectations this year from the hinterlands during Diwali?
    We are aiming a revenue growth in excess of 25 percent from last year’s revenue accomplished during festive season.

    Kindly elaborate last year’s Diwali experience in rural India?
    The festive season last year lacked the usual excitement, something that the industry had witnessed in the previous years. Rupee depreciation, cost pressures, inflation and RBI ban on zero per cent EMI schemes were some of the factors that contributed to the low consumer sentiment and lower sales.

    What challenges do you face while penetrating the festival in rural India and how do you tackle them?
    The primary challenges that we face while penetrating in the rural market are;  adoptability, affordability, availability and awareness. These challenges are directly related with the mind set of rural consumer, typical lifestyle and consumer behavioural attitude towards new products. Another most important difficulty faced in the rural marketing is making product available to the rural consumers as well as to the intermediaries. Rural India is unorganised and scattered; It requires deep distribution and sub-distribution requires, logistic facilities, and transpiration infrastructure.

    To overcome them we have adopted localised strategy very seriously. We have focused on product differentiation for consumers by developing India-specific products with emphasis on high-volume segments. To gather insights on products that could be more closely entwined with people’s lives, Panasonic established a new Volume Zone Marketing Research Centre in India. The centre has researchers who visit consumer households to gather feedback about products and identify the requirement gaps that could help develop tailor-made products for the Indian market. We focus on market research for consumers, especially in tier-II and tier-III cities to understand the needs and aspirations.



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