If there is one chore most people hate, it is washing dishes. With the lockdown forcing everyone to do all chores at home themselves, many are turning to technology for help. A result of this is a spike in purchase of one household appliance, that was otherwise rare in Indian households: A dishwasher.
With lockdown restrictions easing considerably, many consumer durable stores that have resumed operations across the country are witnessing a dramatic increase in the sale of dishwashers.
And the reason is not hard to guess. With domestic workers still not allowed in many apartment complexes and residential areas amidst the pandemic, household chores are beginning to weigh heavily on residents.
Ketaki, a Hyderabad resident working for an IT multinational who recently purchased a dishwasher, says the decision to buy the appliance now was prompted by the unavailability of domestic help and too many household chores piling up.
Ketaki says she decided on a Bosch dishwasher since itâ€™s the best in terms of reliability and the most trusted brand for dishwashers.
While domestic workers are being allowed in her community, she says, â€śWe didnâ€™t want to risk it. We havenâ€™t verified where they are staying, whether they are from containment zones, etc., so we decided against it.â€ť
Badri Narayan, another Hyderabad resident, says he had been planning to purchase a dishwasher for some time and the lockdown just hastened his decision.
He adds that his family used to do the dishes themselves earlier and their decision to buy the dishwasher was spurred by the convenience factor. â€śI donâ€™t know how it will turn out finally because there are some prerequisites like some minimum volume of load, it cannot be used every 5 minutes, etc.,â€ť says Badri.
Badri notes that just like air conditioners, dishwashers are also becoming common these days and everybody is starting to buy them.
Bosch-Siemens (BSH), one of the premier dishwasher brands, says that since the lockdown they have witnessed a surge in the demand for dishwashers and expect to continue seeing this surge.
Speaking to TNM, Neeraj Bahl, MD & CEO, BSH home appliances says, â€śIn fact, we have already started receiving a lot of enquiries and booking for dishwashers, we met our monthly sales targets in a weekâ€™s time. We are looking forward to fulfilling these orders as soon the lockdown lifts or eases in respective regions. Moreover, dishwashers can be best friends to all the new chefs in town since it maintains a high level of hygiene, washing your dishes and utensils both quickly and precisely without having to worry about washing up after your meals.â€ť
Shrikant, an employee of a Bosch distributor, says, â€śDishwasher sales have seen a healthy increase. While we sold around 20 dishwashers monthly before the lockdown, the quantity has doubled to more than 40 post the lockdown.â€ť
He says dishwasher sales are witnessing a spurt due to domestic workers not being available during the lockdown period.
The combined market share of the Bosch and Siemens brands in the dishwasher segment in India currently stands in the range of 50-60%. The Bosch-Siemens spokesperson adds, â€śSince our products are positioned in the premium and luxury segments, we believe the demand for dishwashers from our target group of consumers will continue post the lockdown.â€ť
LG Electronics, another major brand in the dishwasher space, says it has witnessed 400-500% growth in sales after the lockdown was put in place.
Vijay Babu, VP (Home Appliances) at LG Electronics India, says, â€śDuring this lockdown, one product that has caught the attention of homemakers is the dishwasher. We have seen a 400-500% surge in demand for this product during this period.â€ť
He adds that dishwashers are slowly but steadily becoming a necessity in todayâ€™s world and that the company is confident of its market growing even after the lockdown.
Voltas Beko, another major brand in dishwashers, says that during the COVID-19 lockdown, more and more consumers have been taking care of household chores without their support staff at home, many of whom have migrated to their hometowns.
A company spokesperson told TNM, â€śConsumers, today, are thus looking to be more self-reliant and to invest in automated, technologically superior, comfort products to ease their lives. And given the uncertainties of this pandemic in the future, we believe this behaviour change will be for the long run -- especially for a product like the dishwasher which otherwise has a very low penetration in India. Having said this, consumers will look for appliances that are customised for the Indian lifestyle. Having conducted an extremely intensive immersive programme among our audience at the time of launch in 2018, Voltas Beko products are customised to meet the needs of an Indian consumer.â€ť
Dishwashers have emerged as a great support in the kitchen to deal with the struggles of household chores. In fact, In the first 24 hours of opening of e-commerce, Amazon.in says it saw massive demand for dishwashers with over 23X spike in searches.
Amazon has also busted some common myths associated with dishwashers:
> Myth1: Dishwashers are expensive. When calculating over a period of 24 months, a dishwasher can cost you just Rs 1300/month.
> Myth2: Indian utensils such as tawas, Kadhais cannot be cleaned in dishwashers. Dishwashers are designed as per Indian utensils shapes and sizes and can hold them easily. Additionally, a selection of dishwashers are customised for the Indian kitchen with powerful sprays of hot water pressure to remove hard masala and oil stains.
> Myth3: Dishwashers consume more water & electricity when compared to washing by hand. On the contrary, washing dishes by hand can consume twice as much water as using a dishwasher. Dishwashers use up to 9 to 25 litres, whereas washing dishes by hand can use up to 50-60 litres of water. Dishwashers are also highly energy efficient and use 1-2 Kwh/wash on average.
Consumer durable majors believe that convenience is going to be the buzzword in the weeks and months ahead as far as customers are concerned, since concepts like work from home are going to become the new normal. In view of this, the companies in this space are planning to ramp up investment on convenience products to cater to the potential demand.