1.1 Introduction to Durable goods
Durable goods are those which don’t wear out quickly, yielding utility over time rather than at once. Examples of consumer durable goods include electronic equipment, home furnishings and fixtures, photographic equipment, leisure equipment and kitchen appliances. They can be further classified as either white goods, such as refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners or brown goods such as blenders, cooking ranges and microwaves or consumer electronics such as televisions and DVD players. Such big-ticket items typically continue to be serviceable for three years at least and are characterized by long inter-purchase times. 1.1.1 Performance
In the past 10 years, the global market has witnessed a surge in demand as economies such as Brazil, Mexico, India and China have opened up and begun rapid development, welcoming globalization with élan. The consumer durables industry has always exhibited impressive growth despite strong competition and constant price cutting, and the first contraction since the 2001 dot-com bust has been due to the global recession. Given the strong correlation between demand for durables (both new and replacements) and income, the industry naturally suffered during the 2008-2009 period. However, projections for current year going forward are very optimistic, as consumers resume spending, and producers launch new enticing variants to grab new customers. Leading players include Sony Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Whirlpool Corporation and Panasonic Corporation. Developing countries such as India and China have largely been shielded from the backlash of the recession, as consumers continued to buy basic appliances. In fact, China has been ranked the second-biggest market in the world for consumer electronics. Despite the recession, their strong domestic economy and growing high-income population have buoyed demand leading to aggressive market growth. There is growing interest for new age products such as LCD-TVs and DVD players. Meanwhile, the penetration of the basic, largest dollar items such as ovens, washing machines and refrigerators is also increasing. India too, has witnessed a similar phenomenon, with the urban consumer durables market growing at almost 10 %p.a., and the rural durables market growing at 25% p.a. Some high-growth categories within this segment include mobile phones, TVs and music systems. The Indian consumer durables industry has witnessed a considerable change in the past couple of years. Changing lifestyle, higher disposable income coupled with greater affordability and a surge in advertising has been instrumental in bringing about a sea change in the consumer behavior pattern. Apart from steady income gains, consumer financing and hire-purchase schemes have become a major driver in the consumer durables industry. In the case of more expensive consumer goods, such as refrigerators, washing machines, color televisions and personal computers, retailers are joining forces with banks and finance companies to market their goods more aggressively. In addition, change in policy, such as the WTO FTA in 2005 resulted in zero customs duty on imports of all telecom equipment, thereby improving the pricing and affordability of imported goods. 1.1.2 Challenges
The biggest threats to the local industry going forward are supply-related issues pertaining to distribution and infrastructure, as well as demand issues due to competition from imported goods. The lack of well developed distribution networks makes it especially challenging to penetrate the fastest growing rural areas economically. In addition, regular power cuts and poor road linkages make systematic production, assembly and delivery problematic. On the demand side, customers have increasing choice from both domestically produced and imported goods, with similar features. This homogeneity makes it difficult for players to remain ahead of the competition. MNCs hold an edge over...
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