Heatwave revives sales of ACs and freezers

Published May 29, 2024
Retailers are busy these days as the unrelenting heatwave has pushed up the demand for air-conditioners, deep freezers and refrigerators.—White Star/file
Retailers are busy these days as the unrelenting heatwave has pushed up the demand for air-conditioners, deep freezers and refrigerators.—White Star/file

KARACHI: The heatwave has revived the ailing sales of air conditioners while the run-up to Eidul Azha, to be celebrated in the third week of June, has combined with the heat to propel sales of deep freezers and refrigerators despite a 30-40 per cent rise in prices and an unbearable power tariff.

An overwhelming response from buyers has forced dealers to pull down their shutters in the afternoon.

According to dealers, sales of domestic appliances fell short of the target by 30-40pc during 2023 amid high prices despite a recovery by the rupee against the dollar from Sept 10. The dollar traded at Rs 307 at that time while the current rate is Rs 288.

They said due to ongoing examinations and rising humidity, consumers have been trying hard to provide a pleasant study environment to their children as well as for their aged parents by lifting air conditioners and room coolers.

“A person with a salary of Rs 22,000 came two days ago for purchasing a new room cooler at a price ranging between Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000,” Sohail Malik Shafi, an office-bearer of the Karachi Electronic Dealers Association and owner of a domestic appliances shop at Hashoo Centre, said. “We managed some financing, cut prices and delivered the room cooler to his home.”

Mr Shafi said “this kind of situation melts our hearts” when people pinch and scrape to meet their children and elders’ needs. “Another option is to buy used items, but it’s a gamble.”

He claimed that many people admit openly that they would prefer purchasing ACs or room coolers to sacrificing an animal during Eidul Azha. “This is the kind of sacrifice which parents are making.”

Avoiding disappointment

In case of deep freezers and refrigerators, he said people were in a hurry to lift these items to avoid disappointment which is likely if they come to the market during the week preceding Eid. Currently air conditioner tops the list, while fridge and deep freezers hold the second and third spots in terms of demand and sales.

Sohail Shafi Malik, the electronic dealers’ representative, said the dealers had been pressing makers of domestic appliances since December to slash prices in view of falling raw material prices in China and stability in the rupee-dollar parity.

But before the manufacturers could even think of doing so, the relentless heatwave has changed the market dynamics in their favour as customers are ready to pay through their nose for ACs and coolers, Mr Shafi said.

“Based on some unsold stocks from last year and ongoing production, around 50-60pc of refrigerators, ACs, deep freezers and room coolers have already been sold out over the last 45 days,” he claimed.

He said two kinds of buyers throng the market. The rich look for costly ACs that are compatible with their solar energy system at their home. The others search for low-cost ACs as they cannot see their children suffering from sweltering heat.

Despite loadshedding in many areas and rise in prices of domestic appliances over the last one year, people are content to buy even old ACs for a slice of airconditioned bliss for an hour or two, he added.

A one-tonne inverter AC is now priced at Rs100,000, up from Rs 60,000 last year. A deep freezer and an eight cubic feet fridge now cost Rs60,000 vs Rs35,000-40,000 last year. According to Mohammad Rizwan Irfan, who heads the Karachi Electronic Dealers Association, AC sales are brisk these days, while deep freezers and refrigerators are not far behind. “The demand is likely to go up in case prices of domestic appliances and power rates come down,” Mr Irfan expressed the hope.

As per data of Large-Scale Manufacturing, production of refrigerators, deep freezers and ACs plunged to 604,652 units, 77,014 and 160,792 units, respectively, during 9MFY24 from 723,868, 83,889 and 245,354 units in the same period of last fiscal.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2024

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...