By Princewill Ekwujuru
THE gas cooker segment of the home appliances market in Nigeria has continued to grow in leaps and bounds amidst fierce competition among manufacturers for supremacy in the market place.
As at today, there are over 18 gas cooker brands including the locally built competing for attention of consumers and striving for growing market share. The growth in the market is shown in the supremacy battle for more market share, which has forced manufacturers to begin to consider compatibility and portability amidst rising demand by consumers.
Among other factors driving sales is the availability of different sizes, capacity, durability and types across different price ranges.Prices range between N6,990 and N16, 000 for table-top gas cookers and gas cylinder with anti-rust cast sitter and burner. The freestanding gas cookers sell for between N45,000 and N150,000. Fairly used gas cookers sell for between N42,000 and N50,000 depending on their neatness.
The different sizes are 30’’36’’ with slide-in double oven gas convection and the capacity ranges from 5.4 to 6.8 cubic metres. The types of gas cookers in the market are electric smoothtop, electric induction burners, gas only, and gas/electric burners.
Other competitive edges by the manufacturers include features like control lock, easy clean, cooking features like Tri-Ring burner, which enables the user switch the burners from gentle, simmer to rapid boil with one burner.
Despite the increasing competition, some of the leading brands still hold tenaciously to their leadership positions in the market, having successfully shrugged-off challenges from competitors with a combination of product quality, relentless consumer engagement and aggressive advertising using celebrities to advance their cause in the market.
The introduction of stainless steel, self-cleaning feature, Wifi connected oven, slide-in front control and baking drawer are other competitive edges employed by manufacturers.
As a result of these factors, majority of the brands have become known in the market, occupying prime positions in the hearts and minds of many loyal consumers.
Meanwhile, until government launched the campaign for Nigerians to begin to use gas for cooking about 10years ago, the gas cooker market in Nigeria was almost non-existent and was perceived as an elitist way of cooking meals.
Years later, when the campaign heated up, consumers diverted to buying gas cookers which invariably increased the demand for the product.
After this, however, majority of the gas cooker brands enjoyed high level of visibility because of government’s gas usage policy. Today, gas cookers have become a major kitchen product found in homes of millions of Nigerians, whether table-top or freestanding, with alluring designs.
There are various brands in the market including Electrolux, LG, Ignis, Frigidaire, GE, Kenmore, Samsung, Whirlpool, Viking, Kitchenaid, Thermador, Heir Thermacool, Scanfrost, Century and others. There are three categories of gas cookers including industrial gas cooker, gas cylinder with anti-rust cast burner and freestanding domestic gas cookers in the market.
Vanguard Companies and Markets, C&M, findings show that the market is dominated by Samsung, LG, Heir Thermacool, Polyster, Scanfrost and Whirlpool and together these brands hold and control majority share in the market.
However, Samsung, Scanfrost and LG lead the pack as the biggest manufacturers, leaving others including the locally fabricated ones majorly bought by fringe restaurants to contend for a marginal portion of the market share.
C&M discovered that fairly used gas cooker market is also posing a threat to the market share of the new brands and many consumers tend to believe that second hand products are more durable and more original that new products.
C&M findings majorly showed that most homes go for the table-top gas cookers and this is premised on affordability and portability.
Majority of the consumers said most manufacturers are doing well in the market in terms of quality delivery and availability. A consumer, Mrs. Ruth Udeh, who operates a restaurant at Alaba International Market, said most local restaurant operators buy the locally fabricated gas cookers because of their durability and portability.
Another consumer, Mosebolatan Igbalode, who has a restaurant at Ijora Badia, says she cannot buy gas cookers manufactured by the big manufacturers because the products are too elegant to undergo what the locally fabricated gas cookers go through daily, but said she has LG gas cooker at home.For after-sales service for locally fabricated gas cookers, she said: “they are within reach, but for the high end gas cookers they are too delicate and the after sales service may not be easy to come by. Mr. Kelechi Abaribe, a consumer said he uses Scanfrost at home, but wants to try other brands if the opportunity calls and he also noted that the brand has not in any way posed a problem for him.
A distributor, who simply gave his name as Mr Agwu who deals in different gas cooker brands at Alaba International confirmed that most of the gas cooker brands are of high quality, but said that “customers prefer LG gas cooker because of its affordability. LG is for the mass market,” .