Airconditioning and commercial refrigeration major, Blue Star Limited, has announced the launch of a new range of contemporary and stylish room airconditioners for the residential segment which will be available in 2500 outlets in about 500 cities and towns across the country. These airconditioners, apart from modern features, choice of colours and sophisticated technology, offer high energy efficiency resulting in significant power savings.
Blue Star is India's largest central airconditioning company with an experience of nearly seven decades in providing expert cooling solutions. Blue Star was erstwhile mainly targeting the corporate and commercial segment such as offices, restaurants, showrooms, boutiques and ATMs for its room airconditioners. However, the Company witnessed a significant increase in sales from the residential segment, mainly from consumers who believe that a specialist is better than a generalist and a conviction that if Blue Star is a leader in cooling large spaces, its room airconditioners must be good. To leverage on this trend, the Company forayed into the retail channel to cater to the residential segment, more aggressively from 2011, and made significant changes to its marketing mix. This initiative met with resounding success and Blue Star's room airconditioner sales have grown considerably, despite a decline in sales in the overall room airconditioners industry over the last couple of years. The Company plans to continue to aggressively target the residential segment in 2013.
On the product front, Blue Star has launched an impressive new range of room airconditioners which adhere to the energy standards prescribed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). Further, within the range of Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) specified for each star-rating, Blue Star has opted for a higher EER within each band, in order to maximize energy efficiency.
Apart from being energy efficient, the new range of split airconditioners have a new contemporary and stylish look with multi-colour options in the 3-star and 5-star models such as pearl white, two-tone silver, champagne gold and wine red to appeal to home consumers. They boast of several features including i-feel for comfort where one sits, six filters for ultra-pure air, turbo operation, long distance piping, auto mode, dry mode, sleep mode, blow/self clean function, elegant remote control, rust-resistant construction, self diagnosis, scroll compressor, acoustic insulation on compressor and R410A ecofriendly refrigerant, amongst others.
The Company also plans to promote its inverter line-up of residential split airconditioners for the benefit of energy conscious customers. These units are highly intelligent as they know when, where and how much to cool. The inverter compressor in these units varies its speed depending on the ambient load, resulting in perfect cooling apart from significant energy savings. In addition to one-on-one inverter airconditioners, Blue Star also offers a break-through product called the Multi-Inverter Split AC, wherein an inverter-technology based outdoor unit can be coupled to three indoor units to aircondition upto three rooms simultaneously. This product range appeals to consumers who want to aircondition their entire house and at the same time would like to dramatically save on power bills. This futuristic range helps in reducing the number of outdoor units from three to just one unit, thereby maintaining the look of the façade of the building. The indoor units also have a state-of-the art sleek design with a diamond sparkle to appeal to interior designers and architects.
The range of window airconditioners has also been enhanced with addition of models specifically for the north India market. The Company plans to invest about Rs 30 crores on new product development and R&D initiatives, and has added 50 more people to its existing R&D team of 125 people, in order to continue to develop modern and sophisticated products competing with the best in the world.
As regards to distribution, in 2013, Blue Star's room airconditioners will be available in 2500 outlets in around 500 locations spread across the length and breadth of the country, vide exclusive and multi-brand sales and service airconditioning dealers, retail showrooms and modern trade. The Company has also built up a strong installation and service franchise network to support the retailers.
In terms of advertising and brand communication, the Company has plans to invest about Rs 25 crores in the forthcoming summer season with a new set of TV commercials supported by ads in mainline dailies, cinema and hoardings. It also intends to enhance its digital marketing efforts on the internet including social media, considering that about 45% of its buyers are between 26 to 35 years. Moreover, about 98% of Blue Star buyers belong to the highest socio-economic category (SEC A) who are active on the internet. The differentiated value proposition to the residential audience will continue to be 'Get office-like cooling at home' which leverages Blue Star's expertise in cooling offices and communicates that one can get the very same expertise at home.
Blue Star has also been recognized as a 'Consumer Superbrand' by Superbrands, a global agency which selects strong and powerful brands from across the world. It acknowledges that the brands to win this laurel are those with high product integrity and brand development, thus succeeding to win consumer trust. Blue Star was recognized as a 'Business Superbrand' last year and this year, has been awarded the 'Consumer Superbrand' status. The Company will use this accolade in its mass media communication during the forthcoming summer season.
The Company recently undertook an extensive research in Tier 3 and 4 towns to understand its brand saliency in these markets, and given the high aspirations of consumers in non-metros and the recent success of the Company in these markets, the Company intends to enhance advertising and brand promotional activities in these towns.
Speaking to the Press at a conference held at Hyderabad, B Thiagarajan, President, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Products Group, Blue Star Limited said, "The room airconditioners market in India declined by about 5% due to a soft and erratic summer coupled with pessimistic consumer sentiments during 2012. While these adverse conditions also impacted Blue Star's room airconditioners business, it still garnered 6% growth in value terms, and held on to its market share. While most players in this business resorted to cutting prices putting their margins under pressure, we maintained our prices and premium image focusing on profitability with an enhanced range of products. We find that Blue Star is a strong contender in the consideration set of the discerning consumer, and several home consumers have instilled their faith in us and believe that we offer contemporary and modern products due to our airconditioning pedigree. Considering our impressive new energy-efficient product range, our aggressive distribution strategy and our commitment to continue to make investments in enhancing brand equity, I am confident that we will continue to perform well in the residential segment."
For additional information, please contact: B Thiagarajan, President, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Products Group, Blue Star Limited, Bandbox House, 254D, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai – 400 030 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 09821078098.