Geyser market heats up as winter bites
Geyser, once thought to be a luxury item afforded only by the wealthy, is increasingly gaining popularity among lower and middle-income groups in Bangladesh as they heat water to beat winter.
Besides, it is no longer an urban-centric product. Rather, demand is growing rapidly across the country, particularly in the north, a region that witnesses lower temperature during winter than other parts.
Rising income, changes in lifestyle, electricity availability and infrastructure development have contributed to the upward growth of geysers in rural areas.
The size of the overall market would be nearly Tk 200 crore, according to Khondaker Ashiqul Hasan, brand manager of Walton Home Appliance, one of the major local producers.
"The market is growing," he added.
All of Walton Home Appliance's stocks for this year are sold out.
The families of non-resident Bangladeshis are at the forefront of using the water-heater. Divisional cities are major markets for water heating items.
Newly built houses are keeping the options for installation of geysers, according to Hasan.
Kamruzzaman Kamal, director for marketing of Pran-RFL Group, another major producer, says the sales of geysers have gone up in recent years due to the increasing affordability of lower and middle-class people.
"Along with the rising demand in urban areas, people in rural areas such as the country's northern part are also using it."
Imported brands still dominate the promising market although local producers are establishing their footprint thanks to lower prices.
Locally made geysers can be bought at Tk 3,500 to Tk 6,500 while the imported brands are costing Tk 9,000 to Tk 11,500.
Around 13 types of geysers are available in the market, with the capacity ranging from 20 litres to 90 litres. The season runs from November to February. Annual growth rate is 30 per cent, said industry operators.
Nazmun Nur, a headmistress of a primary school in Thakurgaon sadar upazila, has purchased an imported geyser for his family recently. It has a capacity of 30 litres and is priced at Tk 11,500.
Ranjeet Barman, a technician in the district, says he has set up 17 geysers this season, while Kabir Mia, a technician in Dhaka's Kazipara area, says he installed 100 geysers, all of them foreign brand, this winter.
However, sales of geysers in the Rangpur region have slightly dropped this season in comparison to the previous years due to the late arrival of winter.
Mohammad Sohag, owner of Sohag Sanitary at Thakurgaon bus stand area, says he has sold about 50 geysers so far this year. Of them, seven to eight were locally made, while the rest were imported.
The retailer sold 80 geysers last year.
Anisur Rahman, owner of Manjeel Sanitary in Thakurgaon town, sold around 100 geysers this season, down from about 200 last year.
He blamed the late arrival of winter for the lower sales. "The cold in the northern part of Bangladesh is less severe this year than usual," he said.
Md Abdul Matin, owner of Matin Enterprise at Mosjidpara in Panchagarh town, sells geysers of various brands. Usually, customers of the district choose locally made products for water heating.
He has sold about 70 geysers in the current winter season priced between Tk 6,000 and Tk 7,000.
Golam Mortuza, zonal sales manager of Butterfly Marketing Limited, says sales have dropped in the current season in comparison to previous years.
Butterfly has sold about 280 geysers of Eco+ brand worth about Tk 28 lakh through its showrooms in eight northern districts in the Rangpur division in the current season, which was around 300 last year.
In December, Walton sold 92 units of geysers worth Tk 8 lakh through its 43 sales centres in the division while sales executives of Pran-RFL say the company has sold about 750 units worth Tk 60 lakh through their showrooms in the region.