Consumer durables firms look to cash in on festive season

While Samsung is eyeing to garner sales to the tune of Rs2,500 crore, others companies like Haier, Panasonic and LG, which are aiming to cash in on the celebratory mood of the consumers, are expecting up to 70% jump in sales during the festive season

New Delhi: With the onset of the festive season, consumer durables firms have kicked off big marketing initiatives and offers to woo customers, reports PTI.

While Samsung is eyeing to garner sales to the tune of Rs2,500 crore, others companies like Haier, Panasonic and LG, which are aiming to cash in on the celebratory mood of the consumers, are expecting up to 70% jump in sales during the festive season, compared to last year.

“Based on new launches and offers, we are looking at a 30% jump in sales during the promotion period. During the festive season, we are expecting a business of Rs2,500 crore,” Samsung India vice president and business head (home appliances) Mahesh Krishnan told PTI.

Samsung said it is giving away gifts worth Rs150 crore during the promotion period. On the other hand, Haier is shelling out nearly Rs100 crore for various marketing initiatives during the period.

“This festive season, we are expecting around 50% growth over last year. September and October months are crucial for us. From the two months, we expect to achieve sales of Rs200-Rs250 crore,” Haier India operations president Eric Briganza said.

Japanese consumer electronics firm Panasonic has also rolled out its latest campaign ‘One Festival Many Celebrations with Panasonic’, unveiling a range of special offers for the customers.

“The customer sentiments are upbeat and we will encash it with incredible offers like extended three years warranty, assured gift on every purchase. We foresee a 70% growth in the sales volumes this festive season,” Panasonic India director (marketing) Manish Sharma said.

However, Korean consumer durable giant LG said it has reduced the marketing budget for this festive season by around 15% and expects a sales jump of 25% over that of last year.

“We feel that our brand is strong enough now and our past experiences have shown that heavy marketing during the season is not so effective. It is too much cluttered and differentiation does not up,” LG India chief operating officer YV Verma said.

While home appliances are the growth drivers during the festive season, companies are particularly betting big on flat panel television and refrigerators this time around.

As part of its strategy to boost sales during the period, Samsung has launched a range of LED and LCD flat panel TVs, 21 inch slim TV model and frost-free refrigerator models.

“Samsung is looking at flat panel televisions, including its Smart TV range and its home appliance product ranges to drive the growth during this festival period,” Mr Krishnan said.

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RBI likely to hike key policy rate till January 12: Experts

More rate hikes by the central bank are in store as the RBI in its mid-quarterly review of monetary policy has cautioned that the current level of high inflation makes it imperative to continue with the anti-inflationary stance and tight monetary policy

New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to maintain its hawkish stand and further increase key policy rate up till January 2012, to tame inflationary pressures, reports PTI quoting experts.

The RBI on Friday hiked its key rate by 25 basis points, the 12th time since March last year to tame high inflation overlooking sliding growth.

The short-term lending (or repo) rate to banks by RBI stands revised to 8.25%, while the borrowing (reverse repo) rate is set at 7.25%.

Industry experts project the WPI (wholesale price index) based inflation, which rose to 9.78% in August—much higher than the RBI’s comfort level of 5%-6% per cent—to remain above 9% level until December this year.

The next policy review is due on 25th October.

According to a research report by global banking giant Standard Chartered, “The RBI will increase the policy rates by 25 basis points at the October policy as well. If anything, the tone of the policy statement keeps the door open for further rate hikes after October.”

“We do not rule out further rate hikes up to January 2012,” brokerage firm Angel Broking said in a research note.

Rating agency Care expressed similar views. “The RBI is likely to continue with its anti-inflationary stance till the year end,” it said.

Brokerage firm Elara Securities also expects the central bank to further raise policy rates by 25 basis points in the October policy review.

“If the domestic inflation scenario does not worsen and macroeconomic scenario stabilises at current levels, we view rates peaking at 8.5%,” the report said.

More rate hikes by the central bank are in store as the RBI in its mid-quarterly review of monetary policy has cautioned that the current level of high inflation makes it imperative to continue with the anti-inflationary stance and tight monetary policy.

The future monetary policy stance, it said, would depend on the level of inflation.

The RBI has raised rates by a total 350 basis points since March 2010. Despite this, the inflation has stubbornly remained near double digit, while the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) slipped to 7.7% from 8.8% a year ago.

Standard Chartered, however, believes that India is only using one policy lever—increase in interest rates—to counter inflationary pressures, and there is very little emphasis on other policies.

“Fiscal policy remains accommodative and might have contributed substantially to demand-side pressures in the recent past,” it said.

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General insurance industry to reach Rs90,000 crore by 2015:Assocham

Motor insurance would continue to remain the largest category, contributing over 40% of industry premiums. Besides, the health insurance segment will grow the fastest and account for close to 30% of total industry premiums by 2015, according to Assocham secretary general DS Rawat

New Delhi: The general insurance industry is estimated to grow by over 18% to reach a size of Rs90,000 crore by 2015 from the current size of Ra47,000 crore, reports PTI quoting industry chamber Assocham.

Motor insurance would continue to remain the largest category, contributing over 40% of industry premiums, Assocham said in a statement.

“India will be one of the fastest growing markets in Asia and globally—next only to China among major markets,” it said.

India will become the third-largest car market globally by 2020, with over 70 lakh cars sold annually, driving growth in motor insurance, Assocham said.

Besides, total expenditure on healthcare will be Rs20 lakh crore, creating significant opportunities for coverage through health insurance.

"The health insurance segment will grow the fastest and account for close to 30% of total industry premiums by 2015,” Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said.

Within health insurance, the government sponsored health schemes will grow the fastest while retail will emerge as the largest opportunity, he said.

Further, with increase in infrastructure spending, there would be opportunities for insuring these projects as well.

In the next Five Year Plan beginning April 2012, investment is infrastructure sector involving road, port, railway and power is envisaged at $1 trillion.

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