TCL has been aggressive with its market expansion in India, and had launched innovative TV lineup this year. In an exclusive interview to DeviceNext, Vijay Kumar Mikkilineni, Marketing Head, TCL India, tells us about the importance of consumer insights research that are pivotal to TCL’s market strategy in India and how the company is moving towards a ‘Smart Home’ ecosystem with its products.
Here’s an excerpt from the interaction.
Q. From your perspective, what are the trends in consumer behaviour you are witnessing, and how are these trends going to drive the electronics industry in the coming years?
Over the past few years, there has been a gradual shift towards bigger TVs. Customers today incline toward the concept of ‘bigger is better’. With EEE (Entertainment, Employment and Education), TVs have become a more prominent part of an average household. Today, TVs have gone beyond being an entertainment accessory. It provides relevant technology and features for customers to take online classes, attend video conferences and, of course, access a wide array of entertainment platforms.
Q. What are your key market segments of growth in India for the coming years, and what are TCL plans for these segments?
Considering the contemporary market landscape and customer inclinations, we primarily focus on 55-inches and above TV sizes. Our recently launched TV models, namely C835: Gaming Mini LED 4K Google TV with 144Hz VRR, C635, Action Cinema QLED 4K TV and P735 4K HDR Google TV, are all available in big sizes with respect to consumers’ demands.
Q. Tell us about your association with Sunrisers Hyderabad for this year’s IPL and how it has benefited TCL?
In India, Cricket is more than just a sport. It is a religion. And IPL is a significant boost to the Cricket fever that has gripped this country for decades. Our three years and counting association with Sunrisers Hyderabad has helped us connect better with young audiences and customers. It vastly helps our brand image among Cricket fans. As a number 4 TV brand in India, IPL has significantly taken our brand to the next level.
Q. What are your plans for expanding your presence from Smart TV and ACs to a more broader ‘Smart Home’ ecosystem?
About two years ago, we launched AI*IOT TVs and ACs. Almost 95% of all our AC sales are smart ACs. In terms of TV range, starting from 32-inches to 85-inches, all our TV models come under the Smart TV category. In fact, recently, we have also kicked our game up a notch and launched Google TVs.
Q. Semiconductors are the brains for electronic products. How did its shortage impacted TCL? How did you manage to keep your product prices in check?
Like every other company with semiconductors as a major part of their manufacturing capacity, we also faced issues due to its shortage last year. Having said that, TCL is the number one global TV manufacturer. We have a strong sourcing point that helps us sustain and stay ahead of the curve during such situations. This year, we are fully equipped with all the necessary resources and equipment. I am pleased to say that there are no production hiccups at TCL due to the semiconductor shortage.
Q. What innovations is TCL focusing on, and what are your product lineup for this year?
This year, our product innovations are focused primarily on the Google TV lineup with 4K QLED Game TV Mini LED. These models will be combined with 144 VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), a must-have technology for ensuring a lag-free, better and more detailed gaming experience.