If you’re moving to a new house, one of the first things you’d want to buy is a refrigerator. Says Mumbai-based Amrit Solanki: “It was fridge before furniture when I shifted to my new house in Bandra recently. Now I can easily keep adding stuff to my home, since my groceries are stored in the fridge and food and cold water have been taken care of in this heat.”
The pandemic has changed the way people buy fridges. Says Anup Bhargava, Product Group Head-Refrigerators, Godrej Appliances: “Post pandemic, we have seen demand increasing for refrigerators with higher storage and technology that keeps food hygienic longer. In the large fridge segment, there is greater demand for premium finish, such as glass door or steel/matt, while in the single-door segment, consumers prefer colourful designs with floral patterns.”
Make the right choice
Consider the following aspects while filtering your choices: the type of refrigerator, storage capacity, power consumption, the size of your family, your budget, the space available in your kitchen and home, and your eating habits.
A single-door refrigerator, as the name suggests, is the kind that has just one door. It comes with a capacity of 150-250 litres and is fine for small families. Double-door refrigerators have one door for the main refrigerator compartment and the other for the freezer. They are more popular and come in two primary variants–top-freezer refrigerators or bottom-freezer refrigerators. The first kind is more commonly available and is often cheaper than the second. Triple-door or multi-door refrigerators are a combination of double-door refrigerators with some advanced features. These are suitable for medium-sized families looking for a feature-rich refrigerator but have limited space at home to fit a bulkier side-by-side fridge. Finally, the most elaborate are the side-by-side refrigerators (550-850 litres) which work well for large families. You can call them almirah-style refrigerators, as they open from the centre and not from the side. These fridges have both freezers and storage compartments of the same height, placed side by side.
The market abounds with choices, with everything from single-door, double-door, side-by-side refrigerators and mini-refrigerators that come with adjustable shelves, thermostat control, water/ice dispensers, deodorisers, moisture control, and built-in stabilisers. Leading refrigerator brands in India include LG, Whirlpool, Samsung, Haier, Bosch, Godrej, Electrolux, Videocon, Panasonic, Siemens, Voltas. Most manufacturers have products available across all price points. According to market research agency TechSci Research, “The price segment in refrigerators can be divided into four categories: Economy (below Rs 25,000), Mid-Level (Rs 25,000-80,000), Premium (Rs 80,000-1,50,000) and Luxury (above Rs 1,50,000).
The demand for fridges across categories depends on the consumer’s budget, the availability of space in his kitchen and his design preferences. With people spending more time working from home, health and hygiene are top of the mind while selecting refrigerators. Says Jayant Balan, CEO, Voltas Beko: “Post pandemic, there has been an increased demand for products with anti-bacterial features that have large storing space for fruits, vegetables, frozen snacks and ready-to-eat items. The main focus today is on performance/capacity products that are high in quality and low on environment impact. We have seen a preference in heavy-duty refrigerators due to the need to store large quantities of food due to continued work from home and social-distancing concerns. The overall demand for colourful, sleek and aesthetic designs in this product range has been rising over the past few years as people are now spending more time at home and wish to customise their appliances based on their home interiors.”
Voltas Beko offers high-end products in both, direct cooling and frost-free sub-segments. Prices vary from Rs 18,990 for single-door fridges to Rs 99,990 for frost-free. In direct cooling (single-door), all products bearing BEE 4 Star & BEE 5-Star rating labels are luxury product offerings as they come with ActiveFresh Blue Light technology, which helps retain the freshness of the food stored, and with quick-freeze option for making ice super quick.
However, bigger isn’t always better and people aren’t fixated on volume and capacity. Says Neeraj Bahl, MD & CEO, BSH Home Appliances: “Though size is important, consumers look for products that offer a good mix of size, customisation and aesthetics.
After extensive research of the Indian consumer needs, we launched India’s first flexible refrigerator which allows consumers to use the compartments of a mid-capacity refrigerator as per their needs from season to season.”
Bahl says BSH offers a range of refrigerators to suit various needs across free-standing and built-in. The different ranges in size, colour and format include bottom freezers (400-612 litres), side-by-side (600 litres-plus), French-door bottom freezers (400-600-plus litres) to Bosch Max Flex 3 Door (332-364 litres) and Bosch 2-door top freezers (263-358 litres) including convertible and non-convertible in an 80:20 fridge freezer ratio. The MaxFlex range comes with a compartment that switches roles quite easily. You can make it into a fridge or a freezer according to your needs. The French-door refrigerator stores more food and keeps them fresh for up to three times longer with the VitaFresh pro freshness system. The side-by-side refrigerator combines a fridge and a freezer. It offers superb size and a wealth of extra features.
Better technology has many takers. Says Rajesh Rathi, Executive Vice President, Lloyd: “We are seeing a lot of demand in the premium segment of the market and customers are preferring higher star and energy-efficient products. They are opting for inverter and better technology products, such as the ten vent technology in our refrigerators. It is no longer plain vanilla.”
You can even put your fridge on holiday mode as you go on a vacation–it will retain the freshness of food. Lloyd’s side-by-side refrigerator comes with a holiday mode and super freeze function and is equipped with a double vegetable and fruit box, three twist ice trays and four glass shelves. Available in 587-litre capacity, the range starts at Rs 80,990 and is an extremely efficient operation for energy saving, less noise, quick and powerful cooling even in high temperatures. Its fleximax design caters to the underlying need of more storage for discerning Indian consumers.
Godrej Appliances has higher-capacity models (300 litres and above) priced at Rs 30,000-68,000. They come with convertible technology (Godrej Eon Valor and Eon Vibe Convertible), bottom-mount freezer (Godrej NXW Aura) and extending to side-by-side door refrigerators (Godrej Eon Velvet). Their latest offering is the Nano Shield Technology, which helps in 95 per cent-plus food surface disinfection. This is relevant as consumers are far more concerned today about health, especially when it comes to consumable items. Bottom-mount cooling with advanced display, 4-in-1 convertible technology gives consumers the flexibility to convert their freezer to fridge based on requirement. It has intelligent electronic controls with ambient sensing technology, superior cooling to keep fruits and vegetables farm fresh for up to 30 days, patented cool shower technology for 360-degree cooling.
Smart features are also being introduced. Says Bahl of BSH Appliances: “To better meet consumers’ needs today, we are transforming from a home appliance manufacturer to a company that offers customisable digital features, services, and content. One example of this is Home Connect, a life-enhancing app for smart products across our brands. For instance, refrigerators with Bosch Home Connect feature help food stay fresh for longer, the Home Connect app on mobile devices offers important storage tips, with recommendations on the ideal fridge section and temperature.” This means you can always create the best conditions for your food items.
Another interesting feature is that your mobile device can give you a convenient glimpse of what is inside your fridge, thanks to innovative interior cameras. It means you always have a complete overview of the food in your fridge. Even when you aren’t home, you will know exactly which ingredients are still missing for that great dinner you are planning.
Finally, the contents of your fridge say a lot about you. As a home chef says, “You can tell a lot about people by what they keep in their refrigerators. What comforts them, what they need to have on hand to sustain them.”
Table: Prices and specifications of some refrigerator models
|Bosch Serie | 4,KAN92VI,35 L||1,14,290||Side-by-Side, LED interior light, Big Box, EasyAccess Shelf, 2 cooling circuits|
|Bosch Serie | 2, KAN92VS,30 L||99,490||Side-by-side, Multi Airflow system, EasyAccess Shelf, LED interior light|
|Haier HRB-550KG,531 L||1,45,400||No Wall Partition, 0.95 Unit Consumption 0.95 Unit ConsumptionInverter, French Door|
|Haier HRS-682MG,630 L||1,46,600||Convertible Side-by-Side, Deo Fresh, Jumbo Ice Maker|
|Hitachi R-WB560PND9 -GBW-FBF,511 L||1,13,500||French Bottom Freezer (3 Door), Bright Vegetable Compartment with LED Light, Fresh Select, Double-Deck Drawer, Movable Twist Ice Tray, Tempered Glass Shelves, Inverter Control, Dual Fan Cooling, Eco Thermo-Sensor, Touch Screen Controller|
|Hitachi R-W660PND7-GBK,586 L||1,44,500||French Series, Big, Moisture-Guard Vegetable Compartment, Fresh Select,Tank Type Water Dispenser, Movable Twist Ice Tray, Automatic Ice Maker, Inverter Control, Dual Fan Cooling, Eco Thermo-Sensor, LED Control Panel|
|1,32,199||Hygiene Fresh+, DoorCooling+, Smart Diagnosis, Multi Air Flow, Smart Inverter Compressor, Express Freeze Side-by-Side|
|LG GC-M247UGLN,675 L||1,44,990||Inverter Linear Compressor, Door-in-Door, Easy access and up to 41% Less cold air loss, DoorCooling+, Multi Air Flow, Hygiene Fresh+, Multi Digital Sensors, Side-by-Side|
|Panasonic NR-DZ600GKXZ,601 L||1,12,000||Smart cooling Technology, 4-Door design, Two-Layer Vegetable Case|
|Samsung RF57A5032SL,580||L89,990||French Door, Convertible freezer, Twin Cooling Plus, Digital inverter Compressor|
|Samsung RS72A50K1B4 ,692 L||1,24,990||Side-by-Side, SpaceMax Technology, All around cooling, Curd Maestro, Digital inverter technology|
|Siemens R-SG38KPND – GBK,400 L||92,990||Free-standing fridge-freezer with freezer at bottom, noFrost technology, Plenty of space for your groceries, All eyes on freshness, Multi Airflow system, Supercooling, Automatic defrost cooling system|
|Whirlpool 21194 Wseries,537 L||1,08,000||Frost Free Side by side, Adaptive Intelligence Technology, Intellisense Inverter, Feather Touch UI, Up to 30°C Super freezing temperature|
|Whirlpool 21306, Intellifresh,500 L||86,850||Convertible Frost Free Double Door, AI Technology, 5-in-1 Convertible, Intellisense Inverter Technology, Feather touch control panel|
|Whirlpool 20943 W series,603 L||1,46,400||Frost Free Side by sideAdaptive Intelligence Technology, 6th Sense Cloudfresh Technology, Magic Shelf, Auto Glow Bar|
Credits: TechSci Research