By Srabani Sen
Mirc Electronics Ltd, the maker of the Onida brand of consumer durables, has made a foray into the LED lighting space with Onida and Igo brands. While Onida targets the urban sector (metro and mini metro markets), Igo plans to improve rural penetration. “The opportunity in lighting is immense, in urban as well as rural India, where LED lights can replace conventional sources,” says Avnish Jauhari, business head, Mirc Electronics Ltd. Onida and Igo are looking at revenues worth Rs 500 million each in the first year of their operations in the LED space.
“We took the right opportunity to venture into this sector as LED lighting is an upcoming market and holds immense business potential, both in urban and rural areas,” says Avnish Jauhari.
Both Onida and Igo started manufacturing streetlights, flash lights and LED lanterns in September 2010, at Mirc’s Wada (Maharashtra) and Roorki (UP) facilities. “We already have Igo, a rural centric brand, as we used to sell low cost TVs in rural areas,” says Sanjay Kumar, head marketing, Igo.
Differing marketing strategies
According to Sanjay Kumar, marketing strategies of Onida and Igo are very different. “The right product is a big part of a successful marketing strategy. The products should be suitable for the market you are targeting. Igo products have been developed keeping the rural markets in mind, where out of 700,000 villages, around 400,000 villages either don’t have electricity or don’t have proper electrical suppliants. So, we cannot sell them products that require electricity.”
Onida is developing LED streetlights and other lighting fixtures which will replace normal electrical light fittings like tubelights, bulbs, etc, that are used in homes and commercial areas. Igo, on the other hand, is developing LED lanterns and flashlights, which are backup lighting products. They will run on stored electricity in batteries (dry cells, rechargeable cells and solar rechargeable cells). In other words, they are the inverters of rural areas. Igo products, predominantly sold in rural areas, aim to replace kerosene lamps.
Another major difference between urban and rural marketing is the price factor. “In rural areas, an expensive product will not move, no matter how good your marketing is. The prices of the Onida products are more than Rs 1000 but Igo’s products start from Rs 70,” informs Sanjay Kumar.
The promotion of products for urban and rural areas is another differentiating factor. “For Igo products we will use wall paintings, the vernacular press and Doordarshan. We have already started distributing leaflets and have participated in rural melas,” he adds.
While Igo is aiming to have a pan-India presence through its 33 branches and half a million retail shops, it is strong in north and east India. Starting with nine products which have been launched in five states, Igo will increase its product range to 30 in the coming months.