If pollution is giving sleepless nights to carmakers due to the odd-even rule and ban on big diesel engines, there’s an industry that is laughing all the way to the bank — air-purifier makers.
Rising concerns about pollution in the Capital have led to a dramatic increase in sales of home air purifiers, and that, too, in government corridors.
From President Pranab Mukherjee to environment minister Prakash Javdekar to the high commissions — all have taken to the big, boxy appliances in an effort to clean the atmosphere in their offices and homes.
While the Australian High Commission in Delhi has placed an order for more than 50 air purifiers and 18 car air purifiers, the Portugal embassy and the New Zealand High Commission have installed 18 and 9 air purifiers, respectively.
Government offices, including the income tax office, has ordered 50 air purifiers and the National Buildings Construction Corp Ltd (NBCC) has got around 80 of them installed.
Sources told HT that even the Delhi police and traffic inspectors have ordered some.
In fact, New Delhi, which has been called the most polluted city in the world by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is the biggest buyer of air purifiers. A number of companies , including Philips, Kent, Hosair, Eureka Forbes and Blueair, sell these devices at prices ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 20,000.
Philips reported a 20-30% surge in sales last year, while Eureka Forbes said it was selling 7,000-10,000 machines a month, compared to 10,000-20,000 per year a few years ago. Blueair has witnessed a five-fold sales jump in purifiers since Diwali last year.
Air purifiers are also among the top searched home appliances on e-commerce websites such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.
“A sudden demand has cropped over the last seven to eight months,” said Ankur Chawla, director, sales and marketing, Crusaders Technologies, a home-grown company that has installed air purifiers at several government offices, including the ones at Rashtrapati Bhawan. “Earlier, selling air purifiers was an uphill task. But thanks to the rise in awareness, there is a surge in demand. We will invest Rs 100 crore over three years on product development and brand promotion.”
Air purifiers are particularly beneficial for those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
“Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) lead in terms of volumes,” said Mahesh Gupta, chairman, Kent. “The demand hit its peak during the winters due to smog and higher pollution. We were anticipating sales of around 25,000 pieces a year, but in just three months (December-February), we had sold 7,500 pieces.”