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Colours invade consumer products

The current ratio between white and grey to coloured products is roughly 60:40, while till a few years ago, whites and greys dominated 90 per cent of the home appliances market, reports Sanjeev Sinha.

business Updated: Apr 25, 2008 22:35 IST
Sanjeev Sinha

There was a time when they were called white goods, because they were often white. But no more. Refrigerators, mobile phone handsets and various appliances are increasingly sporting a variety of colours. In an otherwise competitive market for products with comparable features, the pull of a colour can sometimes attract consumers more than anything else.

Explains V Ramachandran, director sales & marketing, LG Electronics India, “The Indian consumers are fast shifting their preferences and have moved beyond the traditionally 'safe' whites. They are well in sync with the emerging global trends and realize the essence of change. Rather than blending into the background, therefore, they want their appliances to stand out and have that extra 'wow' factor."

Little wonder, the current ratio between white and grey to coloured products is roughly 60:40, while till a few years ago, whites and greys dominated 90 per cent of the home appliances market. And from a single colour pique cotton polo shirt brand, Lacoste has become a multi-colour brand—and as many as 52 new colours are added every season in its T-shirt collection alone.

Even the sky is now hued red, thanks to Kingfisher Airlines’ glaring entry. SpiceJet followed suit with a similar motif. “Today's consumers see products such as appliances, cars and other personal gadgets as an extension of their personality and are willing to spend to buy the products that are a representation of their lifestyle,” says Kamal Nandi, vice-president, sales and marketing, at Godrej Appliances.

Nandi says the Eon range of Godrej refrigerators launched with a splash of colours that helped them find market presence in less than a year.

“This basically reflects that there is a big market for products and brands that are willing to experiment with bold colours and style,” he says.

Obviously, fashion and lifestyle brands are the leaders in the colour revolution. But brands like Lacoste and Homme are teaching thing or two to engineering-driven companies like Motorola and Nokia. Surprisingly, people have started seeking colours even in a category like denim – always identified with blue, black or grey - which prompted Wrangler to introduce coloured denim two seasons back.

“Women have always been open to colours, but now men have also started seeking brighter colours. This is prevalent and more noticeable in formal categories like shirts,” says Janani Subramaniam, business head, Wrangler.

Vikas Gupta, CEO & MD, Lacoste India, agrees: “Today, with new economy sectors (like IT, media, advertising, retail, consulting) adding to economic growth, the outlook towards colours has changed and become more international in professional lives. Individuals no longer see wearing or using bright colours in office as a no-no and hence one sees colour being added up to everything that is consumed.”