In an exclusive interview with FE’s Saurabh Singh, Avneet Singh Marwah, CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd (SPPL), shares insights into the dynamics of the smart TV and consumer durables market in India. He discusses the challenges faced by Chinese brands, the changing landscape of consumer preferences, and SPPL’s strategy for growth.

Smart TV Market Dynamics

Marwah reflects on the challenges encountered in the television space in 2023, highlighting the exit of numerous brands and the ensuing market turmoil. He emphasizes the repercussions of unsustainable pricing strategies adopted by certain brands, drawing parallels with the fate of OnePlus and Realme.

The Pitfalls of Cash Burning

The CEO underscores the perils of cash burning as a strategy to gain market share, noting that Indian consumers prioritize value over brand loyalty. He elucidates how OnePlus and Realme’s missteps in the Indian market led to their eventual exit, cautioning against similar practices by Chinese brands in 2024.

Lack of Loyalty in Lower Price Segments

Marwah delves into the rationale behind Indian consumers’ penchant for lower-priced products with comparable specifications. He debunks the notion of brand loyalty in the low to medium-ticket segment, citing Xiaomi’s shift to online-only sales and OnePlus’s cessation of TV operations as indicative of changing consumer preferences.

Chinese Brands’ Exodus from Indian Market

The CEO asserts that the Chinese bubble in the Indian television space has burst, attributing this phenomenon to the lack of indigenous competition. He posits that had Indian brands like Voltas, Godrej, and Blue Star ventured into mobile phone manufacturing, Chinese brands would have faced formidable competition.

Impact on Smart TV Affordability

Marwah explores the implications of the Chinese brands’ exit on the affordability of smart TVs in India. He contends that while full-spec TVs cannot compromise on quality, the premium affordable category is poised for growth. He cites the discerning nature of Indian consumers and the importance of quality and after-sales service in driving purchase decisions.

SPPL’s Growth Trajectory

The CEO provides insights into SPPL’s decision-making process regarding its growth strategy. He elucidates the company’s cautious approach towards going public, emphasizing its focus on sustainable growth and prudent financial management.

Brand Portfolio Management

Marwah elaborates on SPPL’s brand portfolio strategy, highlighting the differentiation among its brands such as Thomson, Kodak, and Blaupunkt. He underscores the importance of market segmentation and product differentiation in driving growth across diverse consumer segments.

The CEO outlines SPPL’s plans for workforce expansion, emphasizing the pivotal role of manufacturing, R&D, and sales and marketing in driving the company’s growth trajectory. He forecasts a significant increase in employee strength over the next few years to support SPPL’s expanding operations.

Vertical Integration and Product Diversification

Marwah discusses SPPL’s foray into new product categories such as washing machines and air coolers, emphasizing the importance of vertical integration for sustained growth. He elaborates on the company’s manufacturing capabilities and its focus on product quality and innovation.

The CEO provides insights into SPPL’s plans for expanding its manufacturing facilities, highlighting the upcoming plant in Hapur and its significance in bolstering the company’s production capacity. He outlines SPPL’s vision for future expansion, including the introduction of new product categories and the establishment of additional manufacturing plants.

Innovation and Category Expansion

Marwah hints at SPPL’s plans for innovation and category expansion, underscoring the company’s commitment to diversifying its product portfolio. He teases upcoming product launches while maintaining confidentiality regarding specific details.

Avneet Singh Marwah’s candid insights shed light on the evolving dynamics of the Indian smart TV market and SPPL’s strategic approach towards growth and innovation. As the company continues to expand its footprint and diversify its product offerings, it remains poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the consumer durables segment.

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