Consumer durables companies, including Panasonic and Haier, are planning to raise prices of their products by up to five per cent, mainly due to the severe impact of depreciation of rupee.
Other players like Sony, Whirlpool and Fujifilm are also considering various options to tackle the adverse currency fluctuation situation that is making import of components very expensive.
“This is the third time within a year when prices of consumer durables are increasing due to rupee depreciation and escalation in raw material costs. We are also forced to increase the product prices from first week of July,” Panasonic India Managing Director (Consumer Product Division) Manish Sharma said.
On white goods, the rise will be about four per cent and the increment on televisions will be about two-three per cent, he added.
The company had earlier increased the prices by four per cent in January due to higher input costs, Sharma said.
Expressing similar sentiments, Haier India said it would also raise the prices again from this month. “Weakening of the rupee has aggravated the situation. We are planning to further increase the prices of refrigerators, washing machines and LCDs in the month of June by three-five per cent,” Haier India President Eric Braganza said.
Since March 2012, the company has raised prices across different categories, he added.
“In refrigerators, we had raised the prices to three per cent twice, making it to a total of six per cent increase. Prices of washing machines have been increased by 7.5 per cent and air conditioners by 17.5 per cent,” Braganza said.
Rising input costs had increased the production cost, resulting in four-five price rises last year, he added. The rupee has been on a downward spiral over the past few months against the dollar and touched a record low of 56.52 against last month.
Sony India said if the rupee depreciates even further, it was likely to affect the consumer electronics market.
On its strategy to counter the impact, Sony India Managing Director Masaru Tamagawa said: “Sony India has hedged the currency by booking the exchange rate amount till June 2012 and, therefore, has no plans to increase the price of its products till then.
“However, from July 2012 onwards, Sony will observe the exchange rate closely and will determine the price accordingly.”
Fujifilm India Executive Vice-President Rohit Pundit said the company would take a decision on price rise keeping the competition scenario in mind.
“If market leaders like Sony take such actions, then we would react to it. We are observing the market as of now,” he added.
Another consumer durables major, Whirlpool, said multiple actions were being taken in sourcing, cost management and pricing to mitigate the impact of rupee fall.
“Like everyone else, Whirlpool is also affected by the depreciation of the rupee for the import content of its materials — directly or indirectly.
“Pricing and margin is determined by a number of factors, but of late this is one of the most important contributors,” Whirlpool India Vice-President (Corporate Affairs and Strategy) Shantanu Dasgupta said.
Prices can be tweaked for one category in a particular month and for another in the next, he said without sharing any details.
“The last increase for some of our products was taken in May,” Dasgupta said.