Refrigerator sales has failed to see a usual pre-Eid surge this year, which retailers and manufacturers reason for the dengue outbreak across the country and floods in the north and hilly regions.
The need to preserve meat of animals sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha drives the market of the cooling apparatus, accounting for nearly half the year’s sales.
The sector’s major players say sales grow by some 35 to 40 percent during this period, propelled by offers, including discounts, cashbacks and prizes.
Though there are a couple of days to go before the festival, the growth this year has averaged at only 15 to 20 percent.
The makers believe dengue treatment costs and flood-induced losses are being met with money kept aside for the home appliance.
Some 14 lakh refrigerators were sold in 2014 while the figure rose to 20 lakh in 2017 and 22 lakh in 2018, meaning an average annual growth of 11.42 percent in the past five years, says industry insiders.
“Sales are slightly dull compared to that of last year…it might be the same as of last year,” said Manzurul Karim, general manager of Esquire Electronics, the sole authorised distributor of Japanese brands General and Sharp.
According to him, the industry’s Eid targets will remain unattained and the year’s tally would be at best 22 lakh units. However, he was optimistic of Esquire Electronics’ chest freezers this year.
“Sales growth is only 10 percent this year…with chest freezers the most sought after,” said Rashedul Islam, product manager of Transcom Digital which retails Whirlpool, Hitachi, Transtec and Samsung brands.
“We have a maximum Tk 500,000 in cash back offer for fridges otherwise tours abroad,” he said. Transcom is also offering exchanges with discounts of up to Tk 16,000.
Walton, a leading local manufacturer of refrigerators, has set a target of selling 10 lakh units ahead of Eid. The local electronics giant increased production at Walton Hi-Tech Industries and booted stocks at outlets across the country, releasing around 50 new models.
The company is offering a chance to win Tk 10 lakh with purchases made at authorised outlets. Moreover, there are cash backs of Tk 1 lakh, cash vouchers and various appliances including refrigerators.
Sayefus Shahedin, deputy general manager (sales) at LG, said 33 percent of their Eid sales target had been met till August 5 despite the company offering cash backs ranging from Tk 1,000 to 100 percent of the price tag. “I think the target ahead of Eid might remain unattained because of the impact of dengue fever in urban areas and flood in rural area,” he said.
Last year, they sold 12,000 LG units and 27,000 of Eco Plus while this year’s target is 23,000 and 21,000 respectively.
Vision Electronics, a sister concern of Pran-RFL Group which offers 75 models, said their sales grew only 20 percent ahead of Eid whereas it was 50 percent last year.
Kamruzzman Kamal, director for marketing at Pran-RFL Group, said they produce 1,000 units every day at their Ghorashal factory in Narsingdi.
Vision Electronics retails products through showrooms of Best Buy and Vision emporiums alongside over 2,000 listed dealers, he said. Their 121 to 556-litre-capacity refrigerators are in the price range of Tk 11,000 to Tk 91,000 while 150 to 350-litre-capacity chest freezers around Tk 22,400 to Tk 37,300.
Kamal said Vision refrigerators having glass doors were in high demand.
Products of different brands such as Panasonic, Haier, Kelvinator, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Jamuna, Marcel and Electra are also available in the market.