Case Study: Electric Cooker Market Assessment

LightCastle Analytics Wing
April 17, 2024
Case Study: Electric Cooker Market Assessment

The Opportunity

In Bangladesh, over 80% of households lack access to clean cooking options. As per the WHO, around 113,202 people die in the country annually because of Indoor Air Pollution. Despite growing awareness of the health risks, socio-economic and cultural factors hinder the adoption of cleaner cooking methods.

As of 2018, biomass such as wooden logs (‘lakri’), biogas, etc. remains the primary fuel for cooking in both rural (74%) and urban (50%) areas, with slow adoption of cleaner alternatives like gas and electricity due to high costs.

Cleaner cooking methods are not as readily adopted due to infrastructural incapacities such as mismatched household electrical lines, or household factors such as people’s taste preferences, concerns regarding affordability, and limited awareness of available alternative options.

Even though more than 55% of the population is currently using traditional cookstoves, the current landscape of Bangladesh offers a promising market for cleaner cooking technologies that is driven by increasing household incomes, urbanization, supply-side or local manufacturing growth, and favorable government support.

As per the revised National Action Plan for Clean Cooking 2020-2030, the government aspires to minimize the usage of traditional stoves. Hence, it is essential to take the necessary steps to ensure the target of achieving zero biomass usage by 2030.

The modern cooking appliance has seen significant growth in the last 10 years. With the rise in income and urbanization, cooking appliance purchases have increased in urban areas and rural locations. Despite the popularity of renowned global brands, the market is currently dominated by large domestic Electric Cooking appliance manufacturers.

Buyers prefer Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) sourced from India and China due to quality preferences. However, local manufacturers have gained significant market shares by providing cheaper products and longer warranties. It has been seen that appliance products such as rice cookers, induction cookers and infrared cookers, electric kettles, and auto-fire and manual gas stoves as market ready for the rural people considering their significant economic upliftment and the ongoing expansion of grid electricity and LPG distribution network in the rural areas of Bangladesh.

A landscaping assessment titled “A Market Assessment on Electric Cookers’ Value Chain and Financial Inclusion’ had been commissioned to LightCastle Partners by Practical Action & SNV. This investigation is being conducted as part of the HTCC project, a joint program implemented by Practical Action and SNV Netherlands Development Organization with support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Under this assignment, LightCastle Partners has conducted a market-systems mapping of Modern Energy Cooking Appliances by outlining the value chain actors and other ancillary stakeholders and their roles, the supporting services, and underlying relationships, understanding the customer mindset regarding usage and rejection, assessing the supply-side skills or capacity gaps, and identifying innovative business model prospects and financing options. The assessment explored gender, entrepreneurial, and ‘market system development’ angles.

The Approach

For this comprehensive market assessment, LightCastle Partners adopted a mixed-methods approach centered around the key objectives of the study. Extensive desk research was conducted to identify gaps, formulate pre-deployment hypotheses, and gain clarity on the primary research instrument development.

Trained teams were deployed to the key locations of the study in three districts: Gazipur, Faridpur, and Jhenaidah. They conducted household surveys to gain a quantitative overview of electric cooker usage and its related modalities, as well as conducted focus group discussions and retailer and ecosystem level key informant interviews to deep dive into the nuances of the market dynamics on demand-side, supply-side, and ecosystem side.

Figure: Objectives mapped with methodologies
Figure: Objectives mapped with methodologies

The Future

The findings of the study indicate recommendations for stakeholders such as manufacturers, development organizations (implementers), and policy experts.

For these stakeholders, the assessment revealed room for bridging the gaps in major areas, including infrastructural development of household electric capacity, rethinking tariff rates for local manufacturing, ensuring product quality regulations are enforced, and fine-tuning standard efficiency labeling.

Awareness regarding energy efficiency on a mass scale needs to be raised, along with promoting consumer understanding of the innovative features of electric cookers as well.

Figure: Over-arching challenges hindering Electric Cooker Adoption
Figure: Over-arching challenges hindering Electric Cooker Adoption

Daily Star arranged a roundtable discussion in association with Practical Action & SNV, where LightCastle Partners presented the key findings of the study and the way forward.

The discussion surmised that Bangladesh should focus more on clean and modern cooking technologies considering the health hazards to women and children, and the environmental impact posed by traditional methods.

The findings presented in the discussion will pave the way for policy changes. Further studies and collaborations on key areas for initiatives, synergy, and development are being conducted, particularly on the potential for entrepreneurial support and innovative financing opportunities.

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We consult and collaborate with development partners, the public sector, and private organizations to promote inclusive economic growth that positively changes the lives of people at scale. Being a data-driven and transparent organization, we believe in democratizing knowledge and information among the stakeholders of the economy to drive inclusive growth.

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