With domestic help away, residents queue up to purchase dishwashers

Published on Jun 08, 2020 11:39 PM IST
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ByPrayag Arora-Desai, Gurugram

Once a rarity in Indian homes, the dishwasher has acquired newfound importance in city households as well as in other urban centres in India. Recently, following the announcement of the lockdown, there has been an exponential rise in its demand, according to those dealing in electronic appliances. In fact, at least four city-based distributors said that there is a shortage of stock in the market, with people signing up on waitlists to purchase a dishwasher and prospective buyers numbering into hundreds in Gurugram.

With manual chores becoming a more integral part of the everyday life, residents also that said they were happy to spend money on products to ease cumbersome household tasks, particularly as many are no longer employing household help, either by personal choice or due to neighbourhood or RWA restrictions. “We have all realised that washing dishes can be extremely tedious. Naturally, people will be looking for a more convenient way to get the job done,” said Jugesh Nanda, owner and manager of an electronic goods showroom on Golf Course Road in DLF Phase-1.

“Since May 3, we have sold close to 30 dishwashers in the city, and have placed an order for another 30 units. Earlier, I used to sell not more than 25 to 30 dishwashers in a year,” Nanda added. Spokespersons for leading dishwasher brands in India have also publicly spoken of the rise in demand, which stands at between 400 to 500%, as per industry estimates. According to an employee of a leading home appliances company, “Yearly targets on the sale of dishwashers are being met in months, if not weeks. There will be a more concerted marketing push in India for sure.”

Vishnu Kumar, 29, who lives by himself in an apartment complex in DLF Phase-2, and who recently purchased a dishwasher, said, “My RWA is not yet allowing domestic help inside. I was paying my help 5,000 a month earlier, whereas a dishwasher will end up costing me only 3,000 per month on my credit card. It definitely saves a lot of time.” Kumar said, adding that he has been getting by without any domestic help since March 25.

Yashasvika Behlani, a resident of a condominium in Sector 30, said, “Our apartment came with a built-in space for a dishwasher, but we never considered it until now. Once the lockdown was eased on May 3, we bought one and it really optimises our time. My partner and I work forIong days, so we tend to rely on gadgets for cooking and cleaning.” Behlani added that her domestic help had chosen to return home to Rajasthan in the days immediately after lockdown. “Out of caution, we are taking care of the housework ourselves for a bit,” she added.

Distributors also said there has been a marked shift in the profile of consumers purchasing dishwashers, which usually cost between 30,000 to 55,000. “Dishwashers have never been an active segment in Indian electronics,” said Ajay Sharma, a licenced distributor for Bosch-Siemens, whose combined share in the Indian dishwasher market stands at close to 50%.

“Dishwashers were sold mainly to customers who returned to India, having lived abroad. There is also some demand among expats in Gurugram, but the common perception was that they are not suited to Indian vessels and cooking,” Sharma added. After the lockdown, he said, people who have never used or purchased a dishwasher before are doing so, while several others are considering it.

“We get a lot of inquiries these days, particularly from homes where both parents are working,” Sharma said, adding that he has sold close to 60 units in the last month alone, and has at least a 100 people on the waitlist to purchase one. At least three other distributors HT spoke to said they have between 50 to 100 people on similar waitlists.

“But there is a shortage due to a disruption in the global supply chain. Most major companies have liquidated whatever stock they had in godowns, and newer imports are uncertain. Unlike washing machines, dishwashers are not manufactured in India,” said Shlok Bansal, an employee of an LG distributor.

Multiple distributors HT spoke to also confirmed that there has been an uptick in demand for other electronic goods, such as vacuum cleaners, microwaves, oven-toaster-grills, and hair trimmers. “Most kitchen appliances will also sell well for the next few months. So would juicers, sandwich grills and food processors,” said Nanda.

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