No home is complete without cookware. Over the years, with change in lifestyle, the preference of cookware has also changed in an average Indian household. In the last few years, Cookware retail has received a standalone mention as a major retail sector and modern retail in this sector is emerging to cater to diverse needs of customers – be it convenience, fashion or price. Currently Indian cookware market is estimated to be over $320million, while the share of the Kitchen accessories market stands around 18 per cent. Covid-19 pandemic led lockdown resorted everyone to cooking and flaunting their creations on social and digital platforms, affecting much free time on hand or restaurants being shut, in turn, positively impacted the cookware industry as more people indulged in buying cookware products online. Sunil Agarwal, Director, Vinod Cookware in conversation with Financial Express Online share how the cookware industry has changed over time and the impact of consumer behavior. Excerpts:
What’s the size/shape of the cookware industry in the current market across major cities in-country, and what’s your plan of expansion or targeted cities?
In the current landscape, the cookware industry in India amounts to a turnover of over Rs. 2400 crores out of which, Rs. 600 crores comprise of the kitchen tools and essentials. In terms of expansion, Vinod Cookware is acquiring land near the state-of-the-art factory in Palghar. At present, we have a solid pan-India presence, courtesy of our distribution channels, and hence we’re a household name. We also intend to establish an even stronger presence in the south and east regions.
Retail and E-commerce or Offline and Online – How do you define advantages & drawbacks in the sale of Vinod Cookware products via both mediums?
When it comes to the offline and online mediums for the brand, we believe that there are no drastic differences. Both the mediums carry their pros and cons since we’ve observed that the more in demand online often reflect lesser sales offline and vice versa.
What are your marketing strategies to establish Vinod Cookware, a household brand? Do you see any impact on the traditional market and surge in online demand for products, especially after pandemic?
We focus on traditional and digital forms of marketing to take Vinod Cookware to every household in India. By exploring different mediums, we plan to increase awareness about the brand’s products further, establish a loyal customer base, and eventually boost sales. Post pandemic demand for products has witnessed a considerable increase since people opt to cook at home instead of ordering online.
We are anticipating a second wave of a pandemic due to rising Covid-19 cases. Do you foresee any impact on the sector anymore, or we can say that the Industry is enabled to overcome unprecedented obstacles?
Right now, the second wave has primarily affected the state of Maharashtra the most. This will impact the economy in general, and we anticipate a slowdown in offline sales since the cookware industry can take a hit and find it difficult to cope during this unprecedented period. I would like to specially mention the period during the first lockdown where we were successfully able to overcome these obstacles, and with new plans and marketing strategies in place, we hope to continue building our brand online through the digital platforms.
Who are the target consumers overall in the Cookware industry? Have you witnessed any significant transformation/evolution in their preferences during lockdown and post lockdown?
During the lockdown period, everyone resorted to cooking and flaunting their creations on social media, affecting much free time on hand or restaurants being shut, in turn, positively impacted the cookware industry as more people indulged in buying cookware products online. We’ve also witnessed that men have taken up cooking more than usual while the women are experimenting with different recipes. Our target audience in the cookware industry has been people who love to cook, who believe in premium cookware quality.
Which new consumer behaviour will stick after the COVID-19 crisis ends?
Once the COVID-19 crisis ends, we feel that the one consumer behaviour that will stick is quality over price. We expect the trend of cooking new recipes and is bound to cause a significant growth in sales on a more regular basis. Also, nowadays, people are more aware of what healthy cooking is and are looking to shop for products that feature healthy cooking. As a result, we aim to harp on this behaviour and establish a loyal customer base.
Is there any region or city-wise diversification in consumer behaviours/preferences for cookware products?
Regional diversification is undoubtedly one of the strategies we’re targeting in the coming years. We believe that the consumer behaviour in different regions stays the same as these days people are more open to exploring a variety of cuisines from the country. We plan to connect with the customers in the north, west, and southeast regions of India by introducing them to our wide range of innovative products, like the multi-functional Cast Iron Frypan which also facilitates healthy cooking, the Cast Iron Kadai featuring a lifetime warranty and the Triply Stainless Steel Series designed using SAS technology.
How do consumers of Metro cities and Non-metro cities differ in terms of demands, choices, or usage of cookware products?
Yes, the choice of cookware products varies for metro and non-metro cities. In metro cities, the nuclear families contribute to more minor cookware sales where minimum space consumption and maximum utility are at the forefront. In contrast, the consumers from non-metro cities tend to opt for more extensive cookware due to large families. One of Vinod Cookware products most important features is durability, which gives the push needed to target consumers from different cities in India.