Philips gets ‘glocal’; cooks up a new kitchen

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Taking its health-oriented positioning a step forward, Philips India recently launched a new product, the AirFryer, with a technology that removes the fat content of fried food.

Priced at Rs 14,995, AirFryer targets the urban and semi-urban health conscious consumers by using ‘rapid air technology’ to provide air-fried food, which according to the company, contains 80 per cent less fat, and as a result is a healthy alternative to traditional frying.

With AirFryer, which is positioned as a premium product at an affordable pricing, Philips has created a new category of products in the Indian kitchen appliances market.  While this latest addition is an upscale, high-end product, the company claims to cover all consumer segments in its product portfolio in India. Last year also saw the company launch middle-segment and economy model mixer grinders under its acquired brand Preethi, while earlier this year, a new range of induction cookers was introduced.

While it will take some time for Philip to establish this new category and drive awareness about AirFryer, the premium price may limit its reach to only a certain consumer class.

Localising its global outlook
Philips, on its part, is using a concoction of global and local expertise, manufacturing processes and product portfolio to score ahead of domestic and international kitchen appliance companies operating in India. Some of its competitors include Braun, Bajaj, Kenstar, Prestige, Black and Decker, and Morphy Richards, among many others who pride on their innovative and unique offerings.

To be more relevant to the Indian market and consumer’s preferences, the company has localised a significant part of its product portfolio. Besides leveraging its innovation centres in Europe and China, and using the expertise to produce India-specific products, it also has a research and development team in India for developing local products.

Genevieve Tearle – Marketing Director Domestic Appliances and Coffee India, Philips Electronics India

“We are always looking at what we can bring to India either from our global portfolio or developing it specifically in India, for India.” says Genevieve Tearle – Marketing Director Domestic Appliances and Coffee India, Philips Electronics India.

Tearle goes on to say that in terms of the product basket, while the recently launched induction cookers have been produced solely for India, the juicer mixer and mixer grinder range is also primarily a domestic offering, with a small amount exported to other markets.

Philips is also producing and assembling a substantial part of its local products within the country. According to Tearle, the acquisition of Indian kitchen appliance maker, Preethi last year has resulted in a significant expansion of its production capacity and Philips now has manufacturing sites in both the North and South regions. While the company refuses to divulge details, it is looking at options of further ramping up its local production to lower costs in keeping with the drastic devaluation of the rupee.

Philip’s major acquisitions of Preethi and China’s Povos electric appliance company has also helped the brand in further amplifying its position in the Indian market by leveraging their experience, research, and development expertise. Philips and Preethi have a combined market share of 25 per cent in the Rs 2,500 crore kitchen appliances market in India, and the company plans to continue with the same growth momentum this year as well.

Marketing it right
While innovations play key differentiators in the highly competitive electronics and domestic appliances market, it is the way the brand markets its products that help to increase its consumer base and create a brand pull.

Philips, for its latest product AirFryer has been conducting consumer engagement activities and demonstrations across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. It has also tied up with a chef from ITC Group of Hotels to develop recipes using the new product. In addition to on-ground activities, and using the regular print and television route, digital media will also form an important part of the company’s marketing strategy. Explaining its marketing initiatives in the digital space, Tearle says, “We are the first brand to partner with Yahoo Mail to bring an email thanks confirmation page, that links directly to our newly launched Facebook page. Our total online campaign has generated almost 40 million impressions in three weeks.”


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