“The Indian market for energy efficient home appliances is changing fast as reflected in increasing level of awareness about energy efficiency among our consumers. More than 43 percent households are currently using energy efficient products in one form or other. An additional 22 percent are aware of such products but not using them due to various reasons. This is a significant development and clearly indicates an increasing level of popularity of Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s labelling programme. BEE should exploit this positive development with some more focused initiatives including generating more consumer awareness to usher in an era of energy efficiency in India,” said Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International, a Jaipur-based consumer advocacy group.
Mehta was referring to a CUTS initiative to understand consumer awareness on energy efficiency in India and constraints therein. It is supported by New Delhi-based Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation. More than 20,000 households covering 20 states, 500 traders and 50 manufacturers of energy efficient home appliances were surveyed. Preliminary analyses of the collected data have revealed some startling changes happening in this sector in India.
It was observed that despite an increasing level of awareness, energy efficiency is not used as a primary criterion for purchasing home appliances. Product branding and price are the major factors that get primary importance in purchase decision. This consideration varies from one product to another but in most of cases energy efficiency appears to be a laggard, Mehta added.
More importantly, the level of satisfaction from the usage of energy efficient products is not reported to be very impressive. Of those who are using energy efficient products, only about eight percent were extremely satisfied, while about 12 percent were either less satisfied or not satisfied.
Out of those consumers who said they are facing problems in shifting to energy efficient products, high cost of appliances is a major barrier for 34 percent of the respondents, while non-availability is an issue for another 21 percent. An overwhelming number of households, 67 percent, asked for reduction in the price of energy efficient products, either through subsidisation or reduction in the cost of production.
However, a majority of consumers are willing to pay a reasonable premium for using more energy efficient products. More than 56 percent of surveyed households were willing to pay more if products are of good quality and reduce their energy consumption. “BEE needs to work out some modalities to bring the remaining households to sustainable consumption practices in their drive toward achieving more energy efficiency of the Indian economy,” the study recommended.
The imperative for fresh and more focused initiatives is important as data show that the market for home appliances in India is emerging very fast. Over the last few years, Indian consumers have made some significant addition/upgradation of electrical home appliances. This addition or upgradation of products was in the range of 18 percent (water/irrigation pumps) to 90 percent (electric bulbs).
The demand for some products in the home appliances segment which are incidentally major users of electricity such as LCDs, dishwashers, air conditioners, microwave oven, food processors, washing machines have recorded an impressive growth. Additional demand for new products varies from 18 percent in case of mixer grinder to 53 percent for LCDs. 50 to 80 percent additions or upgradation has taken place in the last five years.
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