International brands make it big

The European sanitaryware brands are taking strong steps to take over the niche consumers and transform the way they perceive their bathrooms, making them an integral part of the architecture.
Sanitaryware

Indian sanitary ware market is one of the leading industries in the Indian economy.  An industry, which is full of leading homegrown brands, is now seeing an insurgence of international players, especially the Europeans who are upbeat to tap the Indian audience.

According to a recent report by TechSci Research ‘India Sanitary Ware Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2017’, it is forecasted that global sanitary ware market will record a whooping turnover of US$ 89.5 billion by 2017 where maximum growth is anticipated from emerging economies, such as China and India. Improving literacy rates, liberalised FDI policy, favourable demographics, increasing purchasing power, customer friendly banks, and favourable reforms initiated by the Government to attract global investors is driving the growth for sanitary ware market in India, which is forecasted to reach USD 1.8 billion within next five years.

“India is a very important future market. It has a growing lifestyle consumer base due to its healthy economic development and demographic trend of a growing young and working population. There is a desire for lifestyle brands. This upcoming urban target group knows exactly what makes a real brand and what is merely hype,” Says Asutosh Shah, Managing Director, Duravit India.

“It is a fact that the Indian luxury market appears as attractive as ever. India is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the world, and in 2012, it is estimated to be one of the top five retail markets in the world by economic value,” says Abhinav Khandelwal, Managing Partner, FCML Projects. FCML brings in a lot of international brands to the Indian market including Devon & Devon, Gesse and others.

Real estate & globalization drive growth

The Indian markets for real estate is growing at a steady pace with new properties coming up and also end consumers wanting the best for their homes. Real estate will be the real driver for growth in this segment.

“India is a highly lucrative market and a fast growing market for premium products and is expected to maintain these growth rates for the next few years. Currently, the total sanitary fittings market size in India is worth Rs. 2000 - 2500 crore out of which 10 per cent constitutes to the premium segment. This segment is growing at a steady rate of 10-15 per cent,” says Bijoy Mohan, President, Grohe ASIAPAC.

But apart from real estate, what actually makes international brands a hit in India?  The Indian consumers have lately been going more gaga over international brands as for them these brands offer better quality products and global designs.

Today’s consumer is well travelled, well read and well aware about every aspect that is a part of their daily life, one of which surely is their bathroom. “Consumer awareness and demand for premium sanitary ware is on the rise. International brands are investing in this segment to leverage the evolving customer preference for products which are distinctive in look and matching design and functionality,” says Sandip Somany, JMD, HSIL Ltd, which has brought in UK based brand Queo to India.

Moreover, the definition of bathroom is changing for people as more and more space gets dedicated to this area in the homes. “Bathrooms no more remain small dingy rooms to be kept behind closed doors in one corner of the house. The perception of people has changed now.  The customer after a day of stress likes to relax and the bathrooms now play that important space in the house where the customer can relax and de-stress,” says Khandelwal.

Offering an experience not product

“Experience centres/zones are emerging as a strong marketing tool that offer a glimpse of what owning a premium luxury brand would mean to the end consumer. “Such set ups extent effective ‘touch and feel’ that enhance brand experience resulting in a more confident purchase at the consumer’s end,” says Kanchan Lall, Associate Vice President, Tecnova India Pvt Ltd.

Grohe has evolved a concept called ‘Grohe Live Center’ which is a medium for visitors to experience the unique way in which Grohe has synergized design, technology and quality into their products. Mohan informs, “For Grohe, the plans are there to set up manufacturing plant in the country at an investment of $10-20 million.”

FCML also has huge stores existing and coming up in the metros across the country. Its store at Sikandarpur in Delhi is a complete home solution store in which almost two floors are dedicated to European sanitary ware brands, capturing the minds of consumers.

New to the clan

“In bathroom décor and fittings segment international brands such as Dornbracht, Gessi, Flaminia, Plavisdesign, GSG and Regia have entered over the past few years. India offers a huge growth potential for European brands and the market is expected to experience the high growth rates in future for next 5-10 years” says Lall.

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