THE weather has played spoilsport with the traders dealing in water coolers this year. The demand for coolers actually picked up from the beginning of March which should have started from February. The season was shortened about a month. Cloudy weather and bouts of rain in the month of April have also affected the demand. This has made traders unhappy. The cooler demand is mainly influenced by the prevailing weather conditions.
“This year the demand for water coolers is below expectations of wholesalers and dealers operating in the cooler industry due to unfavourable weather conditions,” said Sanjay Topre, Director of Navdurga Traders situated at Fule Market while speaking to The Hitavada. He is considered as one of the reputed wholesalers in the market and has been operating his business from the past 35 years. According to Topre, unfavourable weather conditions has dampened demand for coolers as most of the season has passed off. The demand started to edge up from end of March when heat wave conditions began and temperatures crossed 40 degree Celsius mark.
“Considering lower demand, we are selling whatever stock we have on hand. Placing new orders and adding to the stock at this point of time is out of question. If cloudy weather continues, we are afraid that it may not be sold off by the end of the season,” he pointed out. The prices of coolers being quoted in the market are as follows: 2 feet cooler is being quoted at Rs 1,800; 2.5 feet at Rs 2,100; 3 feet at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000; 3.5 feet at Rs 2,800 to Rs 3,300; 4 feet at Rs 5,500 to Rs 6,000; 5 feet at Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,000 and 6 feet at Rs 14,000 to Rs 20,000. The prices depend on the quality of exhaust fan which come in copper or aluminium.
Sources said that raw material prices went up marginally by 12 per cent this year. The iron angles and aluminium sheet used in making the coolers have increased by 7 per cent and 5 per cent. The Mahatma Fule Market, popularly known as the ‘Cotton Market’, is considered to be the biggest hub for water coolers in central India. There are more than 30 traders at the Mahatma Fule Market alone. Apart from this, there are several manufacturing units at Kharbi, Tajbagh, Hassanbagh and Pardi. Most of these units are located within a radius of 25 kilometres from the city. According to rough estimates, about 12 lakh to 15 lakh coolers including only cooler body are manufactured in Nagpur.
The market size is about Rs 100 crore. These manufacturing units cater to the requirements of not only Vidarbha but far off places in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and even Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Some of the most sought-after brands include Ram Coolers, Bay Breeze, Home Pride, Decora and Mayur. Sources, on condition of anonymity, said that with late start of heat wave, demand for water cooler has dropped by 10 per cent to 20 per cent this season. “During April, we would add new stock but changing weather patterns has affected the demand,” he said. Consumers come out to buy water coolers when night temperatures become hot and unbearable which is not happening at this point of time. Most traders expect the situation to improve in May. As a word of caution, buyers should look for exhaust fans with rubber parts. This can lower incidents of shock. They should also buy motor fan fitted with copper wiring to save on power consumption, he added.