Panasonic promotes alkaline batteries to double sales in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Panasonic Corp. is stepping up efforts to double its battery sales in Thailand by 2022 with special emphasis on longer-life alkaline batteries on the back of strong growth in the segment.

Its local sales unit, Panasonic Siew Sales (Thailand) Co., says it will leverage alkaline battery demand as the segment is growing 10 percent annually, compared with 1 to 2 percent in the entire market in which less expensive manganese batteries command a 70 percent share.

Panasonic holds an 83 percent share in the 4 billion baht ($123 million) Thai battery market and its share in the alkaline sector reaches 72 percent.

The Japanese electronics giant's local unit aspires to expand alkaline battery sales from 980 million baht last year to more than 2 billion baht in 2022.

Citing its own consumer research, Panasonic says its alkaline batteries last 10 times longer than its manganese type and consumers are more likely to purchase the longer-life product.

During an event on Tuesday to unveil a new alkaline battery, Hidekazu Ito, managing director of Panasonic Siew Sales, said Panasonic plans to boost annual battery output capacity by more than 10 percent from the current 1 billion units by investing over 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) in the next one to two years. Alkaline batteries will make up 70 percent of total production.

The local arm is allocating a marketing budget of 100 million baht in the two years through 2018, having Chanathip Songkrasin, the first Thai soccer star playing in the Japanese top flight J-League, promote the Panasonic products.

"Thailand is one of the three strategic countries, along with India and Brazil, where the Japanese headquarters plans to increase market share in alkaline batteries," said Witoon Laoveerakul, director of battery marketing at the local unit. (NNA/Kyodo)