April to June is usually the time when airconditioning firms get their moment in the sun, literally and otherwise. With soaring temperatures and urbanisation, not to mention new highs in temperatures, the AC category has been the one in the forefront every time. But the IPL might have changed that. Thanks to its national reach, impact and the buzz it generates, the IPL today is the horse firms across categories are riding to grab market share. The biggest sponsors are expectedly mobile handset firms, with Vivo leading the pack as the title sponsor. But other categories are not going to be left behind.
So what should a consumer expect? And which are the deals that are going to be well worth it? At the outset, let’s be clear about one very important thing. While categories like mobile handsets have always been strong on digital, this year, even TV’s and other large durable categories are set to offer some compelling reasons to buy online. So you will need to open up to this possibility if you really want to snag the best deals out there.
In the mobile handset space, expect the maximum noise and offers galore. With Vivo as title sponsor, the firm will obviously pull out all stops, and a start has already been made with the launch of the V9, where the brand has roped in Aamir Khan to peddle the phone’s top class camera. Expect the newly crowned market leader in smartphones to counter with a blitz of its own, even as Huawei will bring in the big guns with its P20 handset, just launched, to India too. Xiaomi, which has traditionally been a conservative spender on large formats event and media, will probably stick to designing better offers and more for the Redmi series, and we would urge you to keep an eye for anything really special on the Redmi Pro.
The minimal offering OnePlus doesn’t really have a launch planned around this period, but they might just join the bandwagon with fresh data or content partnerships on purchases.
Smaller, but ambitious players like Asus and Panasonic can be expected to do their bit, either in seect geographies or nationally. Jio, while it missed out on the sponsorship, will definutely be hard to miss, be it through its Mumbai team, or additional pesence it buys its way to. get ready for a surprise or two from them too, especially with the Jio Prime membership scheme looking set to be retired quietly.
2. AC’s: In AC’s, this relatively low margin category might not see really huge discounting, as players look to protect their margins in the busiest period of the year. But yes, financing support, free installations, extended warranties and more will make a strong presence this year, and make sure to keep those in mind when deciding. The big players, be it Samsung, LG, Voltas, Hitachi etc will probably be the only ones who will not really need the IPL’s charms to push their products. But might yet offer some contests and lucky draws to keep up with the buzz at dealerships.
3. Televisions: Now this is one category where you are actually seeing the deals of the decade. Starting with Xiaomi’s line up, which is giving a run for its money and presumably sleepless nights to the erstwhile leaders, be it Samsung, Sony or LG, or the return of almost forgotten brands like Thomson to the market under brand licensing deals, the category is set to change. Directly impacted by a major televised event like the IPL, the TV category is set to grow, especially in the 32 inches and above sizes. We doubt the prices can be taken beyond the marker set by Xiaomi, so look out again for the service features, from extended warranties, to turn around times for repairs, to financing schemes. One very interesting addition now is the content offering some of these brands will offer on their smart TV’s . So if you developed a taste for streaming content, watch out for special offers of 6 months to a year of free content from paid OTT players too.
4. Other notable categories: Autos is one category where right from launches to offerings, you can expect firms to pull out all the stops to ensure a great quarter for their products. Top players like Maruti, Hyundai, Mahindra and Tata Motors are all going to have something special to showcase or sell at a special deal to you. But when it comes to online, while this year may yet be slow, you might spot the odd really interesting offer on products like smart devices for your home, water purifiers and perhaps, even the odd Air Purifier.
A simple rule to keep in mind? Look for offer preferably on productswhich are really new, as in, have been launched in 2018 itself. Products older than that might move to an even higher ofer category by the time the monsoons end, and the real festive season kicks in. Leaving you with a mild case of buyers regret. And we don’t want that, do we?