Home appliance refers to electronic products, devices, or equipment used in various household purposes, such as TVs, refrigerators, ACs, or washing machines. At present, this sector has become a growing sector of the overall consumer electronics industry in Bangladesh with a market size of Tk 20,000 crore. With increasing purchasing power and economic expansion, the home appliance industry in Bangladesh has gained a lot of traction in the last decade, and as a result, the volume of sales has climbed multiple times. The sector has created a competitive market with a wide range of products offered by local and foreign manufacturers. While foreign brands are gaining customer preference owing to brand value and reliable quality, many customers are opting toward local brands due to aggressive pricing and high-quality product offerings.
Overview of Home Appliance Industry
With the establishment of the radio station in Dhaka in 1939, radio was first used in the country among other home appliance products. In the 1950’s, a number of private companies were established in the country to manufacture radio sets. Subsequently, with the establishment of the country’s first television station in 1964, those assembly plants also began to produce television sets. Prior to 1980, most of the domestic appliances and equipment in Bangladesh depended on imports. However, since the 1980’s, several assembly plants have been set up in Bangladesh to manufacture small home appliance products such as radio, television, audio, and video cassette players. When Bangladesh joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) free trade agreement in 1994, the volume of home appliance imports increased and the market became more competitive with the presence of foreign brands.
With the exclusive distribution rights of Korean company ‘LG’, local company ‘Butterfly‘ has been selling LG’s home appliance products in Bangladesh since 1995. Walton also joined the electronics business in 1997. MyOne, another local home appliance brand in Bangladesh, started its journey in 2002. Marcel, a subsidiary of Walton Group, entered the industry in 2006, and Walton established Hi-Tech Industries in 2007 and began manufacturing refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners at its own manufacturing plant. The company is currently manufacturing televisions, home and electronics appliances as well.
According to The Financial Express, a number of domestic companies initially assembled and sold products to add local value. However, as the home appliance market has grown rapidly, companies have gradually shifted to manufacturing, realizing the potential of this sector. The companies used to import some technical components and start manufacturing the rest of the parts locally. ‘RFL’ started selling home appliance products under the ‘Vision’ brand in 2012. In 2016, the company started selling home appliances under another brand called ‘Vigo’.
In 2016, Walton set up Bangladesh’s first compressor manufacturing plant in Gazipur. International brands also want to ensure their position in the Bangladesh market. Several foreign companies have already set up manufacturing and assembling plants through joint ventures with local companies.
South Korean tech giant Samsung established two manufacturing units in Bangladesh in 2017 in a joint venture with Transcom Group and Fair Electronics, where the brand manufactures LED televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, and microwave ovens. Another South Korean giant, LG, set up a manufacturing plant in 2018 in a joint venture with local partner Butterfly, where the brand’s TVs, refrigerators, and air conditioners are manufactured. Also, in May 2021, another local company, Singer, set up their Washing Machine Manufacturing Plant.
At present local and foreign manufacturers are offering different types of home appliance products in the market of Bangladesh. Some of the major appliances or ‘white goods’ in Bangladesh include products like television, refrigerator, air conditioner, oven, and washing machine. Walton, Rangs, Butterfly, Nova, Jamuna Electronics, Singer, Electra, and Eco + are some of the local companies that assemble and manufacture these products. Besides, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, Phillips, LG are some of the foreign companies. Additionally, a variety of small appliances are available in the market, including Blender, Iron, Air Cooler, Electric Water Purifier, Hair Dryer, Vacuum Cleaner, Electric Kettle, Lightbulb, Fan, Room Heater, Electric Shaver, Electric Stove, and Toaster.
Currently, the market size of the home appliances sector in Bangladesh is $2.4 billion, which has been increasing at an average rate of 14% per annum for the last one decade. According to UCB Asset Management, the country’s home appliance market will reach $10 billion by 2030. Television is one of the best selling products among the major home appliances. In 2017, the size of the domestic TV market in Bangladesh was 414 million dollars. According to Ceicdata, Bangladesh exported only $1.25 million worth of TVs in 2020, compared to $33.66 million in TV imports. According to Marketing Watch Bangladesh, of all the electronics products sold in Bangladesh, television has a market share of 30.03%. The market size of the country’s television was $636 million in 2020, which was expected to reach $687 million by 2021.
MWB’s research further reveals that 52% of the country’s television market is owned by local manufacturers, with Walton topping the list with more than 25% market share. Besides, Singer has 9%, Minister has 4%, Vision has 3% and Jamuna has 2% market share.
Another major home appliance is the refrigerator. The estimated size of the refrigerator market in Bangladesh in 2021 was $779 million. According to an EPB, in FY 2021, the value of refrigerator and equipment exports accounted for $12.263 million.
At present, the air conditioner market in Bangladesh has also grown. At present, the AC market size of Bangladesh is $588 million. In 2019, about 450,000 air conditioners were sold. Similar to the refrigerator industry in Bangladesh, air conditioners meet about 65% of local demand, although 35% remains to be imported. A total of $6.23 million worth of AC and machineries were exported from Bangladesh in FY 2021.
In Bangladesh, a variety of other major appliances, such as washing machines and cookers, are also in high demand. Local manufacturers are also preparing and exporting such products. There is also a huge market in Bangladesh for small home appliance products, which is growing like any other major appliance. In 2018, the market size of small home appliances in Bangladesh was $251 million, which was expected to reach $379 million in 2021.
Like other sectors in Bangladesh, the home appliance sector is also severely affected by the Corona epidemic. In such a situation, people are hesitant to buy these products. The two Eid seasons usually generate half of the income for home appliance manufacturers and merchants. But over the last two years, this scenario has been completely different.
Currently most home appliance brands are opting for e-commerce platforms for the promotion and selling of their products. Some of them have launched their own ecommerce platform and others are using the MultiVender e-commerce platform for selling products.
Diverse Product Portfolio
Previously, home appliance products, such as TVs and refrigerators, were originally considered major home appliance products. However, in addition to these, big brands are now bringing a wide range of small home appliance products to the market. Thus, the country’s home appliance sector can now offer a diversified product portfolio to its customers, which was previously unavailable.
Previously, home appliance products were mainly available in big cities. However, at present most brands have outlets or distributors in sub-urban and rural areas as well. Consequently, most branded home appliance products are now available in these areas, and people can purchase and use them.
Factors Behind The Growth
Increasing Buying Power
According to a World Bank , Bangladesh’s Per Capita GDP was only $781 in 2010, which increased to $1941 in 2020. Due to the increasing buying power of lower to upper middle class people, the demand for home appliances has been steadily increasing in the last few years. Moreover, the rising number of working couples and modern lifestyles boost customers’ purchasing power and increase the need for automated home appliances to ease their daily lives.
Alternative Financing Options
A large portion of the target customers of home appliance products are mainly in the lower and middle-income segments. As a result, it is not possible for them to purchase high value products in cash. Due to this, most brands are now collaborating with banks and NBFIs to offer EMI options on their home appliance products. Which eventually attracts new customers to buy their products.
To meet the rising demand in the home appliance sector, a number of local and foreign companies are expanding their business in sub-urban and rural areas of the country through dealership and franchise models. As a result, it has become much easier for big brands to sell their products in these areas. Since local dealers are well-known in the area, they are usually able to sell products in monthly installments. This boosts the demand for home appliances as well as the appeal to new customers, which ultimately increases product sales.
Infrastructure development is playing the most important role behind the continuous growth of the home appliance sector. According to a report of the Financial Express published in August 2021, currently around 99.5% of the people in Bangladesh are under the Electricity Coverage Area, up from 47% in 2009. As the availability and use of electricity has increased, so has the sales of home appliances in Bangladesh.
Lack of after-sales services
One of the most crucial challenges in the home appliance sector is providing proper after sales service to customers. Rural and suburban communities have incurred more horrific drawings because of this problem. Because there isn’t always a support center nearby, and home service isn’t always possible in these areas. As a result, customers must go to a suburb or area where customer care is accessible in order to obtain after-sales service or a warranty. Poor logistics and transportation facilities are another major challenge for the home appliance sector. This problem also makes it difficult to provide after sales service in this sector.
Lack of supporting industries
Local manufacturers in the home appliance sector lack the backward linkage industry. According to the financial express, in order to manufacture and assemble home appliances in Bangladesh, large quantities of components still have to be imported from abroad. Thus, the retail value of these products will increase significantly, and the local value edition will become more challenging.
Lack of consumer awareness
Many people in Bangladesh live in remote areas. Due to lack of knowledge about modern lifestyle and technology, many consumers still do not know much about the home appliance sector. In spite of the fact that each household uses one or more home appliances like TVs, fridges, ovens, etc., marginalized people do not have any idea about the hundreds of other types of household appliances available in the market.
As China moves into the high-tech and heavy industries, the medium and low-tech industries are shifting to South Asian countries. In addition, China is no longer able to benefit from low-cost labor due to the increase in skilled labor. On the other hand, because Bangladesh’s labor costs are lower than those of other countries, and their skills in the IT and light engineering sectors are constantly evolving, Bangladesh will be able to capitalize on this opportunity in the future and manufacture the necessary consumer electronics.
In order to support local home appliance manufacturing companies, home appliance components can be manufactured in the country by developing Proper Backward Linkage Industry. This will not only reduce imports from abroad, but will also reduce the retail price of home appliance products of local manufacturers. In addition, the current home appliance credit facility in Bangladesh is mainly limited to credit card and personal bank loans through EMI or other installment schemes. However, the number of credit card users in Bangladesh is less than 1%, and obtaining personal loans from banks is a lengthy and time-consuming procedure. As a result, an alternative financial system can be developed in a single or joint venture between the bank and NBFI to facilitate this sector. This will benefit consumers, particularly those in the middle and lower middle classes, by providing a financing option for the purchase of home appliance items. In addition, companies may introduce their own service team instead of locally available technicians to provide after sales service in home appliance products. In this way, brands will be able to provide more efficient and better service.