As the market share gap
between colour TV brands narrows, some of the marketers
are getting more restive. While the main battle rages
at the strategic level , smaller skirmishes are breaking
out over market figures generated by research agencies.
A greater sense of urgency
has brought monthly sales figures into focus. So concerned
have companies become about these figures that the numbers
have become the subject of a battle between Videocon,
one of the most aggressive players in the consumer electronics
market, and ORG, the well-known market research firm whose
surveys were the only ones available until recently to
a feedback-hungry industry.
Two Indian brands are fighting
for the number two position in the domestic market, one
happy enough to go by the ORG-GFK figures, the other strongly
questioning their accuracy.
The Rs 688-crore Mirc Electronics,
owner of , has been quite happy to go by the ORG-GFK
May reading of a 10.6 per cent market share by volume,
since that puts it at the number two position. Videocon
has an ORG-GFK reading of a 10.5 per cent share. In value
terms ORG-GFK placed Onida's share at 10.6 per cent and
Videocon's at 9.8 per cent.
is, of course, having none of that.
It has slapped a legal notice on ORG over what it argues
are distorted figures. "The matter of ORG's dealer
sample is serious and we are taking up the issue strongly
with it," says Nabankur Gupta, Videocon's director
for sales and marketing.
"In a market as dynamic
as that of colour televisions, you need to pay attention
to the dealer sample size," Mr Gupta stresses. "Since
1995, ORG has added only 60 dealers to its list. According
to our own research so far, 45 per cent of the Indian
market, in terms of dealers in metros and mini-metros,
is not covered in the ORG panel." By a calculation
of its own factory despatches in May, the company claims
an 18-20 per cent share for the Videocon brand alone.
This is but a small reflection
of the frenzied competitiveness that has gripped the colour
TV market. Competition from multinational brands is putting
pressure on the front-runners, all Indian, to first protect
their positions and then grab share from brands that lead
over them. K.S. Raman, president of the Consumer Electronics
and Television Manufacturers Association, or Cetma, believes
Enthused by its resurgence
in the Indian marketplace, after dropping share since
the late 80s-early 90s when it was at number one position,
Onida has begun dreaming of making it back to the number
one position again, and soon. "By the year 2001,
we intend to become market leaders. We are confident we
will make it though the battle will be fierce and tough,"
says G. Sundar, Mirc's chief executive officer.
Sure, the battle will be
fierce and tough. BPL has been consistently leading the
pack in CTVs. Its May share (by ORG-GFK's reckoning) was
20.5 per cent by volume in May 1999, up from 19.7 in April.
This Bangalore-based group has managed to establish an
image of brand assurance and technology with Indian consumers.
Competition has sharpened
with the entry of multinational brands that have lately
been doing well. Leading this pack is Aiwa, which managed
to snatch the number four position in May with a 9.4 per
cent share, up from 5.8 per cent and sixth position in
April. Samsung, which managed to touch the number four
position in April with a 7.8 per cent, slid to fifth rank
in May, in spite of an increase in share to 8.3 per cent.
Philips, which, with a 7.5
per cent share in April, had the fifth position, found
its share sliding by 0.1 per cent in May and its rank
by one notch. In terms of pure share strength, LG Electronics
managed to improve its position in May with a 6.5 per
cent share, up from 5.4 per cent in April. And Sony improved
its market share by 0.1 per cent in May over April, to
touch 3.7 per cent.
There was a time when players
in the CTV industry used to scoff at monthly figures as
indicators of brand strength -- annual figures were considered
a surer measure. But though annual figures still remain
the barometer for brand ranking, the narrowing of the
gap in market shares month-on-month is being watched keenly
by every player.It's now a question of protecting and
building shares over the very short term into the future.
Undoubtedly, we are looking
at a situation of very brisk churning in the CTV market.
The noise levels will heighten further, never mind that
the World Cup cricket has come and gone. There will be
other pegs on which to hang new marketing campaigns.