Last year when Hollywood director James Cameron's sci-fi epic ‘Avatar' hit the silver screen, little did consumers realise that the 3D technology could be invading their living rooms. It happened this year, so did other new technology products in the durables segment.

Looking back, 2010 was a year which made old bags like the black and white, and cathode ray tube television (CRTV) belong to an ancient era as the likes of 3D and high definition made their way to eminence.

The year saw companies betting big on the high definition television (HDTV) with leading players, including LG, Samsung, Onida and Sony expanding the market by launching LCD and LED TVs on the platform. As if this wasn't enough, most of them launched 3D television in India, with Samsung taking the first step to introduce it in India earlier this year with prices ranging between Rs.2 lakh and Rs.4 lakh.

The companies, however, are still apprehensive of the growth of 3D television in India saying that the market is too nascent and there are negligible contents for it.

Besides, other home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines were not behind. As the silent direct drive technology made its presence felt, the noisy washing machines took a back seat. It was companies like LG that pushed forward the new technology.

“The year 2010 for consumer durable industry witnessed upcoming trends in the market with advanced and smart technologies for consumers. The consumer trend has shifted towards premium, digital, big size and aesthetics,” Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) said.

On the back of the robust growth of these categories, CEAMA predicted that the sector is set to grow at 20 per cent every year for the next five years. It now stands at Rs.35,000 crore in 2010.

“LED and LCD televisions will be the future. The growth has been almost 100 per cent...Going forward, the demand for LED and LCD televisions is likely to increase,” Akai India Managing Director Pranay Dhabai said.

In order to keep pace with the growing market, many consumer durables companies announced fresh investment. Over Rs.540 crore worth of investments were announced by companies, including Samsung, Panasonic and Haier to set up new lines and expand their existing capacities.

Consumers, however, paid more for the products as several multinational giants passed on the hike in excise duty on all non-petroleum sectors to 10 per cent from 8 per cent announced in the Budget.

Accordingly, prices of consumer durables saw an increase ranging between Rs.280 for a low-end refrigerator and around Rs.15,000 for a top-end television. Nevertheless, the growth of the sector picked up with several consumer durables firms like Panasonic, Sony, Videocon, and Samsung cashing in during the festive expecting as much as 70 per cent jump in sales over last year.

On the whole, with the economy on a rapid growth path, consumers were willing to spend more and high price didn't appear to be a deterrent.

There were no complaints by the consumer durables companies. All that they have in mind is bring on the New Year.

Keywords: 3D technology

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