Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Mystery that Draws Reality

Mystery shopping is a tool used externally by market research companies, or internally by companies themselves to measure quality of service, or compliance with service guidelines or to gather specific information about products and services. [1

Market Pulse took this basic form of research a step further & created an online application. A unique Solution to address the challenges was implemented. This was shortlisted by MRSI as one of the Top 5 technology solutions for market research.

A leading paints company launched their programme in 2012 to enhance the effectiveness of their modern trade exclusive outlets. These stores were given a set of guidelines to adhere to. These guidelines related to aspects such as store tangibles as well as responsiveness and empathy of the store advisors.

Market Pulse was commissioned to conduct a mystery audit of these stores; this audit ascertained the level of adherence to performance standards of the stores. This is a pan India assignment which is conducted quarterly. The coverage was in more than 125 outlets in 72 cities.

Market Pulse split up the audit process into 2 phases – store audit of tangible parameters and a mystery audit of staff responsiveness & empathy. Different auditors are used for these two phases and the audit of tangibles was made into a surprise but announced audit. The methodology for the store audit of tangible aspects has been changed from a mere observation technique to visual capture of all tangible aspects with a digital camera. Approximately, 35 – 40 photographs are taken of different aspects ranging from hygiene and store arrangement to availability of retail merchandize. The audit team goes through a rigorous training workshop for digital capturing of store tangibles.

Market Pulse created an online application which showcases all the store ratings along with visual evidence of store tangibles on the firm’s portal. This can be accessed by anybody with a valid login ID from any location in India. The administration of the website rests with the research team of Market Pulse and the main user team of the client.

Visual dissemination of store performance in the mystery audit has helped increase usage of marketing research and its integration with a successful roll-out of an extensive marketing programme of the client. The client is delighted with the application and has shared it with their global office. The online application has helped popularize the programme throughout the Client organization.

This application is now being extended to another marketing programme that targets the general trade.

We at Market Pulse, constantly try to bring new ideas to the field of research.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Offline Water Purifiers have redefined the Category

One of the key expectations of consumers is clean drinking water. Contaminated water cuts productivity of people across income segments. It even hurts millions of not so well-off consumers who earn daily wages. Every day lost due to illness results directly in wage loss.

Emergence of new trends and advent of new technology has resulted in remarkable changes in the domestic market for water purifiers. The recent report from Market Pulse, Opportunities in the Water Purifier Market in India, highlights another vibrant story, that of the offline storage water purifiers.

This research study has ascertained that of the 4.3 million water purifiers sold in 2012 at an estimated value of INR 18.64 billion, a staggering 71% were offline storage water purifiers accounting for INR 5.6 billion of sales.

These offline water purifiers have redefined the category over the last 5 years. “These inexpensive water purifiers, which are sold for as little as Rs. 1000, have expanded the market manifold by making the product affordable for bottom-of-the-pyramid households. The research suggests that more than 15% of the lower and lower middle income households in urban India now have an offline water purifier”, said Ejaz Hoda, CEO of Market Pulse.

Pureit water purifiers from Hindustan Unilever have led the explosive growth in the last 5 years. It is the market leader in the offline water purifier category and enjoys a 60% market share. TATA Chemicals’ Swach and Eureka Forbes are other significant brands in this market.

Only 8% of these offline water purifiers are sold through the modern retail chains. The balance is retailed through a network of almost 21,000 conventional stores. The market leader, Pureit, is available at almost 14000 outlets. A bulk of these retail stores belong to 4 sales channels – Consumer Electronic and White Goods Stores, Kitchen Utensil shops and Electrical & Small Appliance stores; these contribute equally to the total sales.

This category is likely to see increased competition in the near future. New entrants like Tupperware and Amway have also launched offline water purifiers to get a share of the pie. There are others like TTK Prestige, a kitchen appliance leader, contemplating an entry into this market.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Shopaholic’s Paradise: Festive Season

A warm festive season has given way to a chill in the air. The heat generated during the festivities that just ended, however, is going to keep the spirits of the marketers alive. The upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities will add fuel to this momentum.

During festivals, stores across the country prepare to welcome millions of shoppers with a wider variety of consumer offers. Every brand tries to get a piece of the pie by running the best offer possible. Reports suggest that companies increased their marketing and promotion budget this festive season as compared to the same period last year.

In this scenario, to assess the buying behavior of consumers, we at Market Pulse attempted to investigate the effectiveness of these consumer promotions. In order to find out if the consumers really grab the dangling carrot, Market Pulse conducted a set of in-depth interviews with a sample of home-makers in Delhi-NCR.

When Market Pulse conducted a survey on various respondents in Delhi- NCR, specifically on the appliances purchase behavior during the festive season, they found that consumers plan their appliance shopping around festive season. Consumers on the other hand postpone their purchases if not urgent, in order to take advantage of the discounts and offers run by the companies. Most of the survey respondents told us that they scan the newspapers for consumer offers during the festive season.

Another section of respondents said that consumer offers and combo deals during festive season motivate their buying behavior and swayed the purchase decisions. Garima from Delhi said, “In August, I saw an ad of a combo deal of Pigeon where I was getting an induction base pressure cooker and pan free with an induction cooker. I really liked the offer and bought it as I needed to buy an induction cooker.”

As preferred shopping destination, emerging malls/ hyper-markets play important role, respondents informed. Consumers have a perception that during festivals they get better options and deals in modern trade outlets. In these stores, the experience of shopping is also enhanced and much relaxed.

Respondents said that they replace their old appliances during the festive season. Exchange offers and discounts influenced brand selection.

But Market Pulse also said they observed that though the consumer offers play a big role in the decision making process, a few other significant points also impact their buying decisions.

Market Pulse report reveals that the brand decision in planned purchases during the festive season is influenced by consumer promotions such as discounts and cash back offers. Some consumer offers such as bundling of an induction cooker with non-stick cookware or an iron free with a water heater, even motivate the consumers to make unplanned purchase of appliances.

This surely gives food for thought for marketers for the next season.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Big Step Towards a Brighter Future!

By far the most energy efficient, the cleanest and most eco-friendly way of illumination is LED lighting. LED lights being digital in nature are also versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.

To track this new development in the lighting industry, Market Pulse decided to conduct an extensive survey across 12 cities covering more than 1100 respondents comprising end customers, interior designers & electrical contractors, developers and builders, municipal bodies, IREDA, ELCOMA, BEE & Ministry of Railways, retailers of LED lights; channel partners & distributors and national LED manufacturers. Data from the mpElectric Census covering 33,000 electrical outlets across 67 towns has also been analyzed too.

The benefits of LED lighting have brought cheer to lighting enthusiasts in this festive season. The market for LED lamps has already crossed Rs. 100 crores in 2012-2013 and is likely to grow to around Rs 350 cr in 2015-16 as per a new Report by Market Pulse.

Energy conservation is a must now as it becomes increasingly difficult for the energy infrastructure to keep pace with the growing economy. In this regard, LEDs could play a significant role by cutting energy consumption for lighting purposes in India. Realizing this, a number of initiatives have been launched by the Indian Government for increased adoption of LEDs like the Bachat Lamp Yojna, LED Village Campaign and promotion of LED usage in street lighting.

With Philips and Osram as the market leaders across LED lighting categories, brands such as Bajaj, Halonix, Havells and Wipro are also playing significant role in this domain.

The LED luminaries market is dominated by LED Down-lighters, followed by LED Panel Lights, Tube Lamps and LED Spotlights. LED Down-lighters are most popularly sold in the range of 3-6w while LED tube lights are predominantly sold in 10-15w.

Market Pulse report reveals that retail stores followed by the hospitality sector are the primary customer segments, accounting for more than 50% of the LED luminaries. CFLs are seeing maximum replacement by LEDs in hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and hospitals while traditional tube lights have the highest replacement in the retail sector. Till date, more than 30 municipal corporations have also initiated LED street lighting based projects across India.

Thus, the market has plenty of good reasons for being passionate about LED illumination.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Appliances Drive Healthy Cooking

One Leigh Hunt had very rightly said that the groundwork for all happiness is good health. With the rapidly growing inclination towards eating healthy and staying healthy today's consumers are seeking out healthy food options with greater urgency.

The gradual transition in eating habits and cooking styles of Indian consumers has its impact on the demand & usage of appliances. People look for kitchen appliances that can make cooking healthier and even more enjoyable. Eating at home is well known to have many positive effects -- social and emotional, as well as physical – as it makes them able to control everything that goes into their food preparation.

While witnessing this transition on eating habits and cooking styles, Market Pulse decided to probe its impact on the rising demand & usage of appliances in Indian scenario. After interviewing a set of nutritionists and consumers in Delhi-NCR on recent changes in their diets & cooking styles, we found that the adoption of healthier cooking approach like steaming, stir-frying, grilling etc are increasingly on demand. Appliances like grillers, non-stick cookware, toasters, steamers, microwave and juicers, blenders etc. have made dishing out tasteful & healthy meals easy. Working women, who remain constantly under time pressure, are also propelling this new trend of cooking as it makes cooking effortless and healthy.

Experts also suggest healthy methods like steaming, grilling, stir-frying, to cook as these help in making a balanced meal with less or no oil. With a lot of domestic appliances in the today’s market, people can easily make tasty and balanced diet.

A glimpse of one’s lifestyle is well depicted through their habit of food consumption. A Global burden of disease study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2010 showed that the life expectancy (LE) at birth of an average Indian male has gone up by 15 years between 1970 and 2010, while that of an Indian woman by 18 years. The improved eating habits and change in lifestyle were responsible for this increase in addition to better medical care.

So start a day where you have adequate nutrition in a smoothie or a shake, ready to eat meals from easy-to-use appliances. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rise of High Priced Appliances - a new mark of luxury!!

New-age open kitchen is transcending many age-old boundaries – social and cultural. Today, it is merging seamlessly with people’s living spaces – and this has given rise to a new set of choices for home makers. The open kitchen and a slew of luxury appliances therein are the latest fashion statement of modern home owners.  

As the Indian luxury market is getting more refined, just owning a luxury apartment and car seems to be inadequate and it's getting reflected in the kitchen, which is fast-moving to the living room as a mark of luxury. Much like they would do with mobile phones, cars or a home, consumers are now buying premium home appliances to make a lifestyle and fashion statement.

The consumers buying habits are now shifting from functionality to aesthetics as they are now equally concerned with showing off their appliances in their open kitchens. Companies like Philips, Westinghouse, Panasonic, Kenwood and Morphy Richards understand this and are launching premium models with advanced features that appeal to customers at the top of the pyramid. The biggest consumers of these premium products are high net worth individuals as well as young upwardly mobile couples with high disposable incomes in tier 1&2 towns. These products are also an aspiration for the growing middle class population in smaller towns.

A price segment study of the Grinders category by Market Pulse shows that the contribution of the premium category is quiet significant as it contributes 10% in the Mixer grinders' sales and 14% in the Juicer mixer grinders' sales. 

The contribution of premium category even in the class 3-4 & 5-6 towns is approximately 15% &7% respectively.

Brands like Philips, Kenwood and Westing house market premium category induction cookers priced at Rs.3500+. 

By adding unique features to its products, premium appliance makers have cut out a niche demand segment and created a distinct visibility! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Emerging Kitchen Trends

The gradual waning of the wall between a cooking and living space has become de rigueur in recent times, leading to the introduction of open kitchens in Indian homes.  In the transition from the old to the new, traditional to modern, the most significant changes have been in our kitchens. And they have become big, bold, and beautiful. And Open! 
Giving the house an elegant, modern and spacious look, an open kitchen is easily accessible, and moms and nannies can keep a better lookout on toddlers and domestic help. Not only can more than one person work in the open kitchens, the people working in the kitchen can also feel a part of the conversation going on in the house. Another important appeal of open kitchen is its airy, spacious size helping in minimize risks associated with accidents. Quite unfamiliar in past, open kitchens also impact the kind of kitchen appliances consumers are buying.

After conducting a survey on the impact of open kitchen on appliance buying habit among a sample of 150 people living in apartments and newly built houses, Market Pulse has found that majority (67%)of the new home owners have an open kitchen and 63% would prefer to have one in future. While all the respondents agreed that the choice of appliance being bought is influenced by their kitchens, 92% said that they will match the d├ęcor of the dining/living area with the appliances they buy for their kitchen.

Here is some more insight into consumer preferences

Aesthetics of an appliance play an important role in consumers' buying decisions
The features, size and design of the product are critical purchase criteria followed by price. Many prefer sleek appliances to go with the aesthetics of the house 
The brand of the appliance is an important criterion as it adds to status while lending credibility to the appliance 
Some consumers have started looking at energy efficiency as an important criterion when buying a product.
People having open kitchens attach more importance to design and color of the appliance. Energy efficiency of the appliance was also considered a very important purchase criterion.

In keeping with this trend, Electrolux recently launched its water purifiers in vibrant colors to cater to the aesthetic needs of consumers. Breakfast appliances like pop-up toasters, hand-blenders, coffee makers are now displayed on dining tables as they come in many attractive colors and sleek designs. Brands like Philips, Morphy Richards, Prestige, Orpat etc. are introducing smart looking irons, toasters, grinders, and coffee makers which are both energy efficient and eye catching.          

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Urge to purge contamination grows, water purifiers gain popularity

Quench your thirst with safe drinking water! At a time when cry for safe water is being echoed everywhere, the purifier markets in India have come to the rescue of people. Population growth juxtaposed with rapid industrialization is taking a heavy toll on environment leading to contamination of drinking water. 

A recent report by Market Pulse, Opportunities in the Water Purifier Market in India reveals an increasing trend of the demand for water purifiers in the market. The report says the market is set to grow 229%, up from INR 18.64 billion in 2012 to INR 61 billion in 2017.

Going by a UNICEF study, nearly 67% of the Indian households do not treat drinking water. Many, who treat drinking water, are found to be relying largely on age-old boiling method. This situation has given rise to the water purifier market recording accelerated growth over the last 5 years. This growth has further been accentuated by the advent of inexpensive offline or gravity-based water purifiers in the range of Rs. 1000 to Rs 2000. These purifiers have penetrated the bottom of the pyramid households effectively.

Approximately 70% of the country’s RO water purifier market is dominated by players like Eureka Forbes and Kent under. In addition to being the pioneers, they have developed the market by continuous expansion of the distribution network and introduction of new products. The offline water purifier market is dominated by Pureit water purifiers from HUL; the other significant player is TATA Chemicals’ Swach.

TTK Prestige, which is likely to launch a range of water purifiers in collaboration with a foreign partner, is likely to fuel the competition. Multi-level marketing companies such as Tupperware and Amway have also launched offline water purifiers.

Emergence of new trends and advent of new technology has resulted in remarkable changes in Indian water purifiers market. The Market Pulse report presents the challenges and opportunities in this market.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Market Pulse Blog: A new beginning

In a recent piece on Market Research, The Guardian wrote, “Whatever sector you're in, understanding the cultural, social and economic context in which you're trading is crucial. You'll need to know about the local area, what your competition is, and what people will be prepared to pay for your product or service.”

Talking on the relevance of research for small businesses, the piece refers to many experts who all consider research a critical component for prudent decisions. At Market Pulse, we have constantly strived to help our business partners comprehend the many cultural, social and economic factors that determine buying decisions and consumers’ preferences. 

Little surprise, with our diligent efforts and focused deliveries, Market Pulse has emerged as the leading market research company in the small appliances, building electrical product and stationery domains. A large number of reputed companies already rely on our monthly audit reports.

Market research reports prepared by our firm are based on extensive sample surveys among distributors and retailers, customers and purchase influencers as well as information provided by manufacturers and regulatory organizations.

While Market Pulse is fortunate enough to interact with industry leaders on a daily basis, we now want to hear what it is that you have to say. Through this blog we will be able to share with you new research findings and other interesting happenings in the world of research.

We hope you will stay tuned in and give us your valuable inputs. Write to us on this post and other views at: business@marketpulseindia.com

Yours truly: Ejaz Hoda and team