Japanese consumer electronics major Panasonic is expecting a 6 per cent growth this fiscal to reach its target of Rs 12,000 crore sales in India as it tides over sluggish consumer demand in Asia's third largest economy, a top company official said.
Panasonic India on Thursday forayed into 'connected living solutions' by launching its IoT and AI enabled platform Miraie. The company expects around 25 per cent of sales value in the consumer appliances business in 2020-21 to come from the smart connected products.
The company has introduced connected range of smart air conditioners, door bell and plugs and switches and has plans to bring some units of refrigerator and washing machine in this range also.
"Panasonic in India (including all entities and Anchor) is looking have 5 to 6 per cent of growth to happen this year," said Panasonic India and South Asia President and CEO Manish Sharma.
The rated sales average of February and March are heavy and Panasonic would reach its target of Rs 12,000 crore as announced last year, he said.
"It seems to be on track," he said adding that in the appliances business, its expects around 50 per cent growth in March quarter from the corresponding period and similarly for the coming June quarter specially from the AC segment.
Sharma said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the challenges of slowdown being faced in the appliances and consumer electronics industry as products of basic necessity would continue to grow.
"However, products which are commoditised as TV, we have to be slightly cautious," he said adding "this is a category, which we have to watch out".
"As a company, we have to focus mainly on 4K large screen TV," he said adding "Our focus would be 50 inches plus screen size TV."
The number of new launches in the 43 inches and above would be increased and below than it would be focused on semi urban and rural markets.
However, he also hinted that there could be a price hike in the TV segment from April onwards, as the open cell (TV panel) prices have gone up in China by around 3 per cent.
"From April, there is a possibility looking at the global trends of the panel prices (which account for 60 per cent of the TV price). We already are witnessing panel price increase happening in China. From April onwards, prices either may remain where they are due to better efficiencies or may increase 3 to 5 per cent if the current trend continues," he said.
While talking about its Miraie platform, Sharma said Panasonic wants to democratise the technology and would not charge additionally for its smart range products. Unlike its competitors, Panasonic would introduce Miraie platform in entire range of inverter AC this season.
"This incremental technology should not come with an incremental cost. It would be almost on the same cost of a non connected AC. This strategy would follow in other product categories such as washing machine and refrigerator," he added.
The company expects that smart range would consist a substantial chunk of its consumer appliances business in coming years.
"By the end of next financial year, 25 per cent of our total revenue from consumer appliances would be through connected products," said Sharma adding that it would be probably the highest in the industry.
Panasonic's Miraie platform has been designed and developed completely at its Bangalore-based India Innovation Center with product support from Japan. It leverages Google's Voice Assistant and Amazon's Alexa technology to offer hands-free operations and control devices with voice commands.