India’s Coronavirus lockdown seems to have led to a sharp increase in demand for televisions sold via online retailers, according to inputs from Dixon Technologies, India’s biggest maker of TVs.
Company CEO Atul Lall said that while the demand and sales of other consumer durables dipped during the lockdown, demand for TVs rose.
Dixon Technologies, a contract electronics manufacturer whose clients include Samsung, Xiaomi and LG, makes most of its TVs for online-focused TV brands like Xiaomi. However, it recently started supplying TVs to Samsung.
April was a washout month for most retailers due to the strict lockdown which prevented even online shopping sites like Flipkart and Amazon from selling non-essential goods like TVs.
But May was a different tale, said Atul Lall, CEO of Dixon Technologies.
“We were very pleasantly surprised that in the month of May, they [client companies] were able to sell a very large quantity,” Lall said, without giving specific numbers.
“Even June is going very very strong.. [and] July numbers are looking very very strong,” he added, while responding to a question on the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown on his company’s operations.
Dixon Technologies makes around 15%-17% of the TVs sold in India.
The company also has a strong presence in the lighting, feature phone and washing machine segments.
The company, which makes about 30% of all LED bulbs sold in India, however does feel the Coronavirus impact on the lighting and washing machine segments.
Against the usual 15 million units per month, the lighting unit is producing only around 10 million units per month.
Demand for washing machines too have been impacted. “In May, the sales was minimal. Normally, in this period, we do about 70-80,000 [washing machines] per month,” Lall said. “In June, the order book was around 24,000.
“The kind of push that I’m seeing in televisions, I’m not seeing a similar trend in washing machines.”
Given that the company operates primarily in the feature phone market, it has not seen any decline in orders, he added.
The company also recently started making set-top-boxes, starting with a 5 lakh unit order from Jio. In this business too, said Lall, there was no impact of the lock-down.
“In set-top-boxes, we’ve added a new customer in Dish TV. So, the order book is not an issue.”
Lall did not speculate on the reason for the spike in demand for TVs.
However, it is likely that since people were forced to spend more time indoors during the lock-down, they may have been forced to order extra TVs to keep themselves entertained.
This could also result in a boost for content providers, including cable and DTH companies, online apps like Amazon and Hotstar, and for TV channels.
Lall also acknowledged that labor issues — including social distancing requirements and curbs on capacity utilization — was hurting operations at its several factories.
The biggest impact of such curbs has been felt on the lighting operations at its NOIDA and Dehradun factories.
The company, he said, is trying to address the issue by increasing automation.
The curbs did affect the production of TVs and washing machines, but this was not as severe as the levels of automation are higher. Their production capacity has since returned to normal, he said.
Another operation that has seen an impact due to social distancing norms is mobile phone manufacturing. However, these operations — which produce 2 million feature phones per month — are expected to stabilize by the end of this month or by July.