Consumer goods companies are padding up to meet high demand this summer, following the Met department forecast that the season will be hotter and drier than usual this year. Makers of beverages (colas, juices, packaged water) as well as producers of soaps, deodorants, cooling oils and talcum powder depend on summer to boost sales. So do makers of appliances such as air-conditioners, coolers, refrigerators and fans. Consumer durables makers are grappling with a number of issues this year, such as a hike in customs duty, rising commodity prices, and a falling rupee. They, however, claim they have prepared a strong line-up of products for the season ahead. “This year, we are going out with renewed confidence owing in part to the weather forecast,” said B Thiagarajan, joint managing director, Blue Star. On Tuesday, Blue Star, a top air-conditioner (AC) maker, launched 40 new models for the season. Godrej, Kenstar and Maharaja Whiteline have already launched their AC and air cooler models. Other major brands, LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Voltas, are expected to follow suit. AC manufacturers claim this year there will be 15-20 per cent year on year growth.
Last year, growth was less than 10 per cent because of unseasonal rain between March and May.Fast-moving consumer goods companies were also expected to cash in on the demand spike, said Abneesh Roy, senior vice-president, research (institutional equities), Edelweiss. Emami, Dabur, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Godrej Consumer will be the beneficiaries of this rise in demand. Dairy, ice-cream and beverage majors, such as Parle Agro, Bisleri, Coca-Cola, Amul, PepsiCo and Manpasand Beverages, would also try to improve sales, added Roy. “I expect sales volume growth of 30 per cent for our beverages and around 15-20 per cent for ice-creams,” said R S Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, the marketer of the Amul brand of products. He added single-serve ice-creams and beverages had been competitively priced between Rs 5 and Rs 30. Bisleri International, maker of the popular packaged water brand, will launch a new fizzy mango drink in April called Fonzo to compete with Frooti from Parle Agro. Ramesh Chauhan, chairman and managing director (CMD) of Bisleri International, said a multimedia campaign was on the cards to push sales of Fonzo, which would be priced at Rs 18 for a 250 ml bottle. Manpasand Beverages entered into a distribution tie-up with Parle Products to cross-promote and sell each other’s brands, said Dhirendra Singh, the firms’s CMD. The firm, Singh added, was also increasing capacity this summer in keeping with the likely increase in demand.