Panasonic bets on popular Sanyo brand for air conditioners in India

15, Apr. 2019

NEW DELHI, NNA - Panasonic Corp. is betting on one-time rival brand Sanyo to boost low-priced air conditioner sales in India, while retaining its namesake primary brand for middle- to high-end markets.

Under the Sanyo brand familiar to locals, the Japanese electronics giant this month launched five models to be sold exclusively online, as India's e-commerce market has grown rapidly in recent years, a Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd. spokesman told NNA.

The products start at 24,490 rupees ($354), against some 35,000 rupees to about 70,000 rupees for those branded Panasonic.

Panasonic took over Sanyo Electric Co. in 2011, making it a wholly owned subsidiary, and resumed selling televisions under the Sanyo brand via e-commerce sites in India in 2016.

In the e-commerce market, the Sanyo brand is focused on the mass market, where the average price of air conditioner models is less than 30,000 rupees. Chinese and local brands, such as Midea, Voltas and Lloyd, compete head to head in that segment.

Major online retailer Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. sells China-made models under its original brand, MarQ, from 21,500 rupees.

Panasonic aims to gain 10 percent market share in the online air conditioner market this year by taking advantage of the Sanyo name, which has increased its brand awareness among local consumers since the 1990s, the spokesman said.

The household air-conditioner market in India stood at some 5 million units in the year to March. Online sales account for 3 percent to 5 percent of these, but this “is expected to grow to 10 percent to 15 percent over the next three to five years,” an industry analyst told NNA on condition of anonymity.

“Pricing for Sanyo inverter ACs seems very aggressive, and might be able to tap entry-level consumers in India who are planning to upgrade from air coolers,” he added.

More than 40 brands crowd the market, with the local Voltas brand seizing 21 percent market share by volume, excluding online, followed by South Korea's LG at 16 percent and India's Blue Star at 12 percent, according to a 2018 report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd., a local broker. (NNA/Kyodo)