Keeping up with the recent trend of consumers spending less, manufacturers of consumer goods are adopting new strategies to ride out the downturn. They are doing so by offering stripped-down and affordable versions of aspirational goods, such as air-conditioners, SUVs and high-powered motorbikes among others, The Indian Express reported citing a trend seen among consumer goods companies. Godrej's consumer durables division Godrej Appliances has introduced a premium product in the desert cooler segment with an aim for consumers to spend less than what entry-level air-conditioner costs, with added cost savings on electricity bills too.
Air-conditioners have recently got out of the reach of many, becoming unaffordable after the prices for entry-level units rising by up to Rs 6,000, Kamal Nandi, business head & executive vice president, Godrej Appliances, said. With the price of entry-level ACs increasing and hence becoming unaffordable to buy for many, a large chunk of customers started looking at cooling solutions at lesser costs. "Godrej's launch of the air-cooler (priced at Rs 19,900) claiming it is loaded with an AC's inverter technology to provide better cooling with lesser energy consumption, is aimed at the AC buyer who might have deferred the buying decision," the report added. The company will plan more such products targeted at consumer deferring purchases due to reduced purchasing power.
Meanwhile, Pune-based two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto also launched a 125-cc variant of its sports bike, Pulsar in August last year. According to the company's executives, the idea behind launching a stripped-down version of Pulsar was to offer a product to people who could not afford the company's 150cc Pulsar otherwise and were discouraged to spend over Rs 80,000 on heavy bikes.
India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki (MSI) too, in September, came up with its compact car, S-Presso, also termed as mini SUV. The rationale behind bringing this compact in a body whose design refers to that of SUV was to "cash on consumers that aspire to purchase a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) but are only willing to spend enough for a small car." Similar to any other SUV, the car boasts of high-end features like sunroof, ventilated front seats, 360-degree parking camera and is offered at an aggressive price of any regular mini/compact car.