Staff Correspondent, sukhabor.com: While demand for most home appliances came down during the Covid-19 pandemic holiday since March, sales of washing machines have skyrocketed to the point that some brands have gone out of stock.
Market players reason that affluent people in urban areas suspended housekeeping, including laundry services, to avoid the risk of transmission of the virus from outside.
Since there are many housekeepers who simultaneously serve at multiple houses, their chances of contracting Covid-19 was much higher.
In order to get the washing done by themselves, these people are increasingly making use of the electronic appliance, leading to an abnormal rise in its sale.
“We did not imagine before the pandemic of Covid-19 that there would be this much of a higher demand and sale of washing machine during the last two months,” said Manzurul Karim, general manager of Esquire Electronics, the distributor of Japanese brands General and Sharp in Bangladesh.
He believes the demand has increased three to four-fold compared to times when things were normal.
Karim said normally the demand reached at best at 1.20 lakh units per year while the sale this year was likely to reach 4.5 lakh units.
Their stocks got sold out last month, which he believes was due to the fact that people had a natural preference for Japanese brands which have garnered trust for their reliability for long.
The situation turned out to be the same during a visit to a showroom of Transcom Digital on Gaosul Azam Aveneu at sector 14, Uttara. Transcom Digital retails Whirlpool, Hitachi, Transtec and Samsung products.
Md Shorif Sarkar, the outlet manager, said their stocks of every brand of washing machines had been sold out just 10 days ago.
Now they needed at least one week to replenish supplies, he said.
Rashedul Islam, product manager of Transcom Digital, said they had no clue that the demand for washing machines would go up so suddenly in the market.
Basically people became more aware about the consequences of contracting Covid-19 and the importance of maintaining social distancing, which got them into purchasing washing machines, he said.
Another important driving factor was the different offers being provided by the companies. These include cashbacks, equal monthly instalment facility, free installation services as well as the inclusion of inverter technology which substantially brings down power consumption.
It is not just that washing machines brought ease to daily life, it is not an item of luxury at the present moment, rather a necessity for families, Islam said.
When it came to local brand Walton, it has been 100 per cent growth, as per Al Imran, chief executive officer of Walton Home Appliance.
“The demand and sale of Walton washing machines increased significantly amid the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
He said currently Walton was producing and marketing 14 models of semi-automatic and automatic top and front-loading washing machines. Their prices ranged from Tk 6,990 to Tk 45,500.
Customers can even avail an equal monthly instalment facility making a down payment of Tk 999 only, he said. The company also provides free installation and home delivery.
“Walton is conducting digital campaigns across the country to provide fast and swift after-sales service. Under the digital campaign season 7, customers may get Tk 10 lakh or cash vouchers,” he added.
Walton provides a three-year warranty on top loading washing machines and a seven-year one for front loading ones.
Another local brand, Vision Electronics, a sister concern of Pran-RFL Group, witnessed a 200 per cent increase in demand since April compared to the same period last year.
They have eight models of semi-automatic and automatic top and front loading washing machines, with prices ranging from Tk 4,500 to Tk 40,900.
Seven of those are coming with free home delivery and installation, said Kamruzzman Kamal, director for marketing at Pran-RFL Group.
For Samsung Bangladesh, the sale increased around 350 to 400 per cent during the pandemic. In contrast, it had been growing by 60 per cent year-on-year for the past three years, said Sharif Islam, product manager for consumer electronics.
Samsung retails 12 models of automatic top and front-loading washing machines priced from Tk 29,900 to Tk 159,000, he said.
On the highest price being nowhere near other brands, he said the performance was way better and faster while power consumption was substantially low.
Like other brands Samsung is also offering free home deliveries and installations.