“Nobody was prepared for the lockdown. Zero sales of non-essential items deeply impacted the industry-leading to a loss of Rs 10,000 crore”
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way companies do business, their ways to reach to masses, and plans of expansions both evolved drastically. SPPL the brand that got Kodak TVs in India channeling their nostalgic factor is one of the companies that emerged out of the pandemic.
In a recent interview with Pahi Mehra from MyMobile, Avneet Singh Marwah Director and CEO of Super Plastronics, shared the journey of the company through the pandemic, what changed and impacted the TV industry, and their plans and expectations post Covid-19.
According to you how has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted the Indian TV market?
Nobody was prepared for the lockdown. Zero sales of non-essential items deeply impacted the industry-leading to a loss of Rs 10,000 crore in the consumer electronics space, leading to the waste of two million TV sets. Subsequently, as the economy gradually began to open, we saw a huge spike in online sales starting from Unlock 1. In our business, nothing has changed except everyone in the factory however, everyone has to mandatorily wear masks and gloves to carry out the production. Operating with new norms is a big change.
How has the past year been amidst Covid-19?
We saw that people have started shifting to OTT apps, and a big TV screen enhanced the experience of watching content as compared to smaller screens like laptops, phones, etc. We saw an increase in the rating of viewership in India, which broke all the records. The demand for smart TVs grew, despite malls and shopping complexes being closed, eCommerce played an important role and offered huge discounts that accelerated the sales. Consumers’ inclination towards Made in India products further fuelled this demand and there was a lot of pent-up demand since the lockdown period. We were the first TV manufacturing plant to open after the lockdown and had a ready inventory to meet this demand and continued to serve over 15000 pin codes in India.
What are your expectations post Covid-19?
There was a huge pent-up demand after the lockdown because good quality screens were in demand as most of the communication and information was shared through smartphones, tablets, laptops, tv, etc. From work from home to online classes or watching favorite content, viewership on-screen had increased. So we saw a huge spike for 2 Quarters back to back. However, during this demand, the price of panels increased by 350% as all the panel manufacturing plants are situated in China. We feel if prices will continue to increase, there will be a global slowdown in the TV industry, especially for India, which is a price-sensitive market.
What are your expansion plans in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets?
After the pandemic, there is a feel-good factor for Indian manufacturing brands due to which Kodak TV received a lot of quires for offline. There was a vacuum in the market for premium affordable brands, especially after the anti-China sentiments. All thanks to our offline partner Qthree, just in few months, Kodak TV was available in more than 10,000 counter across Tier 2 and tier 3. Kodak TV will be investing hugely in offline trade, this will be the first time when both offline and online will have aggressive pricing.
What kind of distribution strategies are you working on?
Currently, we have managed to get top distributors on board, every week we are adding more than 3-4 distributors. We have got a great response from Maharashtra, Rajasthan, UP, MP, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and several other cities. We will be entering the Northeast in April, and cities like Raipur, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Goa, Gujarat, etc. are cities where we will be expanding our reach. Apart from the distribution network, Kodak TV will be available on all the leading chain stores from April.
We would like to thank all our partners for welcoming Kodak TV to the offline market.
There was nothing much announced for the electronics segment in the union budget 2021? What are your thoughts?
The government intends to boost local manufacturing by doing big announcements 1.97 in various PLI schemes in the next five years. We have urged the government to include television into the scheme, as it is part of consumer electronics.
Additionally, manufacturing infrastructure plays a vital role and by June 2021 DFC will be ready. This will be a game-changer for the supply chain. This will help India to be competitive on a global stage. For metals, the government must consider exempting customs duty on panels as there is a price hike of 350% for the raw material.
You recently announced an investment of 500cr in your new Hapur plant, how is that faring up?
In 2020, we focused on expanding our manufacturing capacity and market presence with an investment of Rs 500 crores. Now, we will be expanding our IoT investment so we can continue to give competition to phone brands that are entering the TV manufacturing industry. With the new pipeline, we are confident that we can capture more than 10% of the market share by end of 2021.
What are your expectations this year in terms of turnover and market share?
This year, our turnover is expected to be 800cr with a market share of 6%.
What are your plans for the year 2021? Any new product lineup?
We are investing Rs 500 crore in the next three years to set up a fully Automated TV manufacturing plant in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. With this, Kodak TV India aims to be one of the first Indian companies to make such a huge investment towards TV manufacturing in India and this will further strengthen its position as one of the leading manufacturers in the affordable smart television segment. We are planning to produce one million TV sets annually, and the new facility will be fully automated, AI-enabled manufacturing lines to facilitate near-contactless production.
Regarding other infrastructure in the next two years, we ought to have 1000 service centers with 70 warehouses across India. Our goal is to give installation and service under 24 hours in 15000 pin codes in the next 2 years. Kodak TV has a market share of 5% in India, we want to expand that to 8%, in the next two years.
Is your company looking beyond TVs?
If there is anything apart from television, we will keep you posted.