Despite the challenges of the past two years, which threw most businesses off-kilter, Usha International has been witnessing a consistent upsurge in retail demand across product categories – kitchen and home appliances, fans, as well as sewing machines.
In recent months, the company observed that the footfall at brick-and-mortar stores has increased exponentially across India, accompanied by the rapid proliferation of online shopping by new-age shoppers, both of which make it bullish for Usha Retail.
“Despite everything our industry has faced in the past couple of years, we expect our retail business to grow 30-40 percent in FY22 as we leverage our omnichannel strategy. We are witnessing growth across both online and offline channels, thanks to our ‘phygital’ approach, as part of which we are curating unique shopping experiences for consumers across purchase channels,” Kapil Kohli, President - Retail, Usha International said.
Usha is a household name and is present across all districts in the country today.
The Usha Retail business encompasses its different B2C channels through which it provides its products to consumers. The brand is focused on expanding its distribution network to reach the consumers where they are. Usha has a Pan-India presence through a robust network of distribution-led retail stores, large format retail – modern trade and regional retail, and brand stores.
Given the increasing relevance of rural towns and their rising contribution to rising sales of branded, high-quality home appliances, Usha is working with its distributors to ensure last-mile connectivity as the deeper we go into the hinterlands the better our growth prospect becomes.
The company’s online-offline retail strategy is balanced and working very well as it provides its consumers with a seamless browse-to-buy journey across formats.
“After Covid, both online and offline have evolved, as have consumers. Retail is now inching towards a double-digit contribution to overall sales, with both online and offline sales growing at a similar pace. With markets now open, customers are back to flocking at stores for the tactile and visual experience before purchase,” Kohli stated.
Usha has a legacy of being one of India’s leading consumer durables companies for over nine decades. At present, Usha has a robust portfolio of numerous product categories, including sewing machines, fans, cooking appliances, home comfort appliances such as water heaters, room heaters, and air coolers, innovative fabric care products, water coolers & dispensers, as well as commercial/industrial products such as electric water pumps.
“This summer season has been very good in terms of a sell-out for fans and cooling appliances. In fact, we hold a large percentage of the market share in both these product segments – for cooling appliances, Usha retail business channels hold a double-digit market share in various categories,” Kapil asserted.
“Further, we are the leaders in the sewing machines category, Usha is the number 1 player in the sector. Demand for sewing machines is fuelled by the recent rise in upcycling, Do-It-Yourself, and creative hobby trends in India,” he added.
Changing Consumer Behavior
A key trend, observed lately, is that consumers are more value-conscious, as compared to being price-conscious. They are looking to spruce up their homes with products that are innovative and convenient to use and are willing to pay more for better products.
Hence, Usha intends to continue its strategy to constantly innovate according to evolving consumers’ needs and preferences, to stay ahead of the competition. It aims to curate products across segments and price points.
Digitization of Business
The pandemic has accelerated digital acceleration across sectors. With this, the brand has also evolved its operations across the board. In its efforts to keep up with the times, Usha is digitizing multiple aspects of its internal and external processes and increasingly leveraging technology to enhance its systems.
“Over the next few years as well, we at Usha expect digitization to play a pivotal role in the areas of R&D, manufacturing, and product development, thus providing an impetus to the growth of the sector. Digitization will further assist industry players in research, product development and innovation, streamlining distribution and retail channels, inventory management, and much more,” Kohli concluded.