NEW DELHI: Leading air purifier makers witnessed up to 60 per cent jump in sales in the peak season, mainly October and November, this year, helped by growing pollution levels and steep rise in air quality index (AQI) in Delhi-NCR and northern region.
Air purifier makers like Philips, Blueair, Panasonic, Eureka, Forbes, Sharp, Xiomi and Blue Star reported a high double-digit jump in sales.
Besides Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), the companies also saw higher demand from tier-II cities like Lucknow and Kanpur. The northern region contributes more than half of the sales of air purifiers.
While Delhi-NCR continued to top sales chart for air purifiers, this year also saw some of the companies reporting a higher number of sales from markets like Kerala and North East.
"This year, the air purifier market in India stood at Rs 450 crore and we have witnessed a strong surge in air purifier penetration, recording a 60 per cent growth over last year till date," Philips Personal Health, Indian Subcontinent Vice-President Gulbahar Taurani said.
Sharp sold around 15,000 units in the month of October and November this year. "Sharp witnessed 27 per cent growth in sales in these two months," Sharp Business Systems India President Consumer Electronics Kishlay Ray said.
"This year, we have witnessed sales of our air purifier in strange markets where we never thought pollution is an issue.
For example, Kerala and North East (which accounted for nearly 3 per cent of our total sales), apart from well-known pollution hotspots like Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and so on," he added.
Similarly, Eureka Forbes also reported a 30 per cent growth, its Chief Transformation Officer Shashank Sinha said.
"The air purifier market was dominated by one market predominantly that is Delhi-NCR, followed by certain non-metros which did fairly well during the peak season," Sinha added.
While the market for room air purifiers is in a nascent stage, limited to some key metro cities a few years ago, it has now started expanding to smaller cities.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), which operates in air purifier category with its brands Blueair and Pureit, also saw double-digit growth.
"We have seen a healthy double-digit growth during the peak season this year. More than 70 per cent of our sales still come from the north region," a HUL spokesperson said.
"While the category is nascent in smaller towns, we have seen signs of demand picking up in tier II towns in north India," he added.
With the rise in air pollution, the companies believe that air purifiers are gradually becoming a lifestyle product and are likely to see sales throughout the year by shedding the tag of being a seasonal product.
According to Xiaomi India Head - Categories and Online Sales Raghu Reddy, "The response to air purifiers has been overwhelming and positive throughout the year owing to the fact that today it has become a necessity for Indian consumers.
" "We have noticed a trend of awareness and acceptance of the poor air quality and environmental issues than before.
Today, people are pro-actively taking precautions and improving the quality of indoor air that they are breathing.
" Panasonic India General Manager, Air Purifier Business Syed Moonis Ali Alvi said, "With the rise in pollution levels, backed by the increasing awareness and growing preferences for health and wellness products, air purifiers have become a part of our lifestyle today."
According to market experts, the segment is growing at around 15 to 20 per cent annually and more than 15 companies are operating in the space.
However, Blue Star, which witnessed 25 per cent growth in the segment, cautioned about the quality of products being sold in the market and demanded that its standards should be defined and regulated.
"Air purifiers are sold from Rs 800 to Rs 57,000 in the market. Someone has even put charcoal and is selling it as a room air purifier," Blue Star Managing Director B Thiagarajan said.
"This should be treated as a health care product and should be regulated. There should be some certification," he added.
According to him, some of the makers are simply importing products without understanding the market.
"In this chaos which is going on, suddenly one week or 10 days after stubble burning, people are buying it," he said, adding that it is very important to assure the people that the air is being purified.
According to Assocham-TechSci Research report published in February 2019, air purifiers are among the fastest-growing products in home appliances space.