HYDERABAD: Call it the impact of demonetisation or availability of coolers of better brands at discounted rates on various e-commerce websites, the sale of duct coolers, that is generally at its peak during summer, has witnessed a considerable drop in Hyderabad.
Troop Bazaar, famous for these coolers, doesn’t see much activity despite summer being at its peak.“It used to be the most popular choice, but not anymore. Last year, around this time, we didn’t pull down our shutter for two days. That was the kind of rush. But, with no cash available to make purchases and easy credit being provided by financiers, the sale has been only 30 pc. There is a drop of 70 pc compared to last year in my store,” said Sheikh Mastan, an air-cooler dealer for last 15 years.
“ATMs are still dry and we haven’t switched to Paytm or credit because our customers are wholesale and they haven’t switched yet,” he added.
Mohd Imran, whose little kiosk caters to repairs and also sells udul (made of wood or grass that is locally called khus, layered on sides of cooler) agrees with Mastan and said: “No one wants to purchase coolers and hence no one purchases udul either. The business has fallen by 50 per cent. There is no cash to make purchases and people are switching to digital transactions. We don’t do that yet,” he said.
‘People prefer AC, branded coolers’
“Middle class families are opting for air conditioners and branded electric coolers. We sell a medium size cooler for Rs 2,800. Coolers manufactured by big brands like Symphony, Godrej, Bajaj or Crompton comes for a slightly higher price.
With finance available easily, it has become the better choice,” said the businessman who spends his afternoons reading the news which would otherwise be filled with negotiating deals in air coolers. Maintenance is another reason why people do not prefer these coolers anymore, feels Singh.
Agreeing with him is Mohd Azhar, who has been running a small electronics store for the last 12 years.
“The drop in my store has been at least by 40 per cent. The udul also needs to be cleaned and replaced every year. It will decay and smell and also loses its resistance to hold water that cools the space. The cooler also needs to be watered a number of times. Who has the time to do all this these days?” pointed Azhar. The motor also needs to be serviced regularly, he added.
“A branded cooler comes with a three-year warranty and no other jhanjhat (trouble),” he further pointed.