What’s driving the Indian home fashion market?
What’s driving the Indian home fashion market?

India is a country with a population of about 400 million urban dwellers and the demand of home and interior items for such a large number of urban houses alone is huge and adding to this, the rural population’s basic requirements of home textiles and furnitures, the Indian home market is enigmatic. India is not only a huge demand market for this sector, but also a strong supplier of these items as well. Globally, India is known for its wide variety and exquisite designs in home textiles and furnishing fabrics and is also home to some of world’s biggest producers in the segment. Also, the boom in the residential real estate industry over the last few years has given an impetus to the home fashion market.

Factors Driving the Home Market
The fashion aspect in home and interiors segment is blooming as well. Many people are buying new homes or are getting their existing ones upgrated in line with the latest trends in the segment. Also, driving the growth of this sector, which includes furnishings, furniture as well as décor, is an increased consciousness and awareness among home owners for stylish interiors and quality indoors. People have now realized that simple things like bedsheets or curtains are not just a fabric to cover bed mattresses or doors and windows but rather a style statement that goes a long way in decorating and embellishing homes. This has further inspired players in the segment to think differently and offer a multitude of options in home fashion segment.

Talking about the factors responsible for growth of home and lifestyle sectors in India, Subodh Mehta, Head - Home Furniture Business, Godrej Interio, says, “In the last five years, there has been a noteworthy growth in the high-end home furnishings market. Major growth drivers for home and lifestyle sector in India are, a) Changing consumer demographics with increased annual household income, coupled with the increased propensity to spend on lifestyle and consumer products; b) Boom in the real estate/housing sector; c) Changing attitude of people towards decorating their home and offices; and d) Unique concept and high returns in the segment.

Consumers in the developing economies are learning to renovate and redesign their homes with the help of home décor in order to make it more attractive and a better place to live in. Deepika Jindal, Creative Executive Director & MD, Arttd’inox, agrees, “We have witnessed a phenomenal growth in home décor market segment over the past decade. The consumer has become more design conscious and is aware of latest décor trends. One of the most important factors that contribute to this growth is that people have started believing in décor aesthetics and have started accessorizing their abode with statement and limited edition décor pieces. With the middle-class segment’s willingness to spend on refurbishing homes, this market is going to witness an impressive scale-up in the times to come.”

It is not only brands like Godrej Interio, Bombay Dyeing or Wellspun but players like Chumbak and Happily Unmarried as well are expanding their reach across the country, which proves that this market is growing phenomenally and will witness an expansive range of players coming in to tap the opportunity.

Sharing his insights on the size and growth rate of this market, Subodh Mehta from Godrej Interio, maintains, “Home décor is emerging as one of the fastest growing segments. The market is currently worth Rs.9,000 crores plus and is growing at the rate of ~30 percent every year. The Indian furniture market is worth about Rs.50,000 crores and about 15 percent of this is contributed by the organized sector. In India, a growth of about 10 percent in the last two years has been witnessed and there are expectations that there will be an upward trend in growth in coming years with economic recovery. Tanay Agarwal, Director, Skipper Furnishings, too apprises, “During the years 2009-2012, Indian home furnishing industry had registered a slow growth of 2.9 percent but with the increasing disposable income and changing consumer dynamics, the furnishing market is slated for growth in the next five years. The industry has positive outlook due to booming hospitality, retail sector and real estate consumption with the easy home loans.” Jindal from Arttd’inox also said that massive growth in demand for modular kitchens too have given a push to the industry.

Festive Push to Industry
Unlike apparel and footwear, which are now shopped for without any specific need in mind, home furnishing and décor shopping happens mostly during festive season or during setting up a new home. “In a recently conducted customer sentiment index for the upcoming festive season on over 50,000 Indian consumers, 86 percent respondents said that they look forward to shop during the festive season.  Home category sees a visible spike in sales during Durga Puja and Diwali. Also, home and living (lighting, wall paintings and crockery) products, which are ideal for gifting, see higher than normal demand during this time. Therefore, the festive season makes for a huge share of the total annual sales in home décor segments. We see one third of our total sales happening in the festive period,” asserts Godrej Interio’s Subodh Mehta.

With such percentage of consumers actively shopping for home furnishings and décor during this period, we can safely maintain that retail in this sector is driven by festivals. Deepika Jindal affirms, “Festive season, especially Diwali is considered to be the most contributing festival when it comes to home fashion industry. People usually spruce up their homes during Diwali by changing upholstery, wallpapers and buying new décor pieces for their homes. This is considered to be the most crucial time for this market.”

Getting Across the Message
Discounts, offers and promotions play a major role in the way India shops. Also, Indian consumers are evolving with time and are more aware of the quality they are buying and paying for and thus, it has become crucial for the retailers and brands to market and promote their products in the best manner they can.

Tanay Agarwal shares, “The marketing strategy of the business and the brand has always been to provide with information at the right time to the right kind of audience. We have been using a 360 degree approach for our promotional plans and campaigns. Our campaigns are organized around festivals, big offers and annual branding. Presently, we are working on a campaign #GharKaNayaRoop – a concept which brings out the best in families and how a home is closest to us.” While Mehta from Godrej Interio believes in tapping the sentiments of the season and providing offers they cannot refuse. He says, “At Godrej Interio, we believe in constantly delighting our consumers with new designs and deliver an unparalleled brand experience. This festive season, we wanted our customers to feel more joyous, therefore, are offering assured discounts on every purchase nationwide. On this occasion, we are offering customers assured discounts on every purchase under the festive scheme. Customers will also get scratch cards on the total value of the purchase which can win them mega discounts of up to 100 percent. The offer has commenced on September 15th and will go on till December 15th in the East and Northeast markets. In parallel, it began from September 20th and will end on December 20th in the rest of India except Kochi. One would be eligible for free gifts worth upto a significant sum of Rs.15,500 with the purchase of mattress.”

Category Calling
The Home category is divided into three broad segments – furniture, furnishings, and décor. While soft furnishing has always been on the back foot when compared to furniture category, the last couple of years have witnessed a considerable growth in consumers’ interest in the former.

Roughly around 50 percent of the home industry comprises of home furniture, soft furnishings capture 35 percent and home décor rules the remaining 15 percent of the overall chart. However, Tanay Agarwal feels, “There is a small shift of market share from furniture to décor during last couple of years. This is due to the reason of controlled consumption which resulted in spending less on high value items like furniture. Consumers continued to spend on furnishings as they have been and invested more in upgrading interiors and décor items to get refreshing look at home and office. The furniture market is seeing a comparatively slow growth as compared to the home furnishings and décor market.” This is also the result of increasing acceptance of the concept of ‘renting’ in furniture category as well. In a fast paced environment where millennial are always on a move for better living spaces, better employment, etc., owning high value and difficult-to-carry products like furniture, has become unnecessary and irrelevant.

What’s in-vogue?
Like clothing, the trends in home fashion too are ever changing. While trends in the category are defined each year, it does not apply for every corner of the country or the world, for that matter. The trends and tastes keep changing with every region. “While North India prefers more bling with a lot of embroideries and patch works with velvets, West is more subdued and prefers more textures and muted fabrics or bright digital prints to add accent to their muted homes. Furthermore, East has a liking for more natural fabrics in a pastel colour palett, and South has a taste for bright colours in jacquards. However, there is a huge growth in use textures for various surfaces, which is something we are betting heavily upon. We have also seen a huge growth in the demand of linen base which inspired us to develop several fabrics on linen base from sheer to main curtain fabrics in plains, prints as well as embroideries,” informs Agarwal from Skipper Furnishings.

Elaborating on what’s trending, Deepika Jindal says, “Metallic hues like silver, gold, rose gold and bronze are ruling in home décor segment presently. Big planters, vases, large mirrors, candelabras and photo frames in metallic tones give a flawless and opulent look to the living area. ‘Less is more’ is the new trend these days. One should try keeping minimal approach while stylizing table and interior spaces. Pretty florals and quirky prints and motifs in tableware and furnishing are too quite in vogue these days.”

The Way Ahead
The home fashion industry in India will witness immense growth in the coming years. Subodh Mehta says, “Today, fuelled by a vast domestic market that is experiencing both economic growth and increasing interest in home décor, the sector is growing and changing quickly. Earlier, most high-end interiors in India looked like clones of one another. In the future, we see a greater degree of individuality and adventure and an appreciation of homegrown Indian design. Spaces will get more interesting.”

While the industry is still in a nascent stage with awareness among consumers about home fashion and interior still picking up and with the continuous entry of players offering newer and better products, home segment is slated for a bigger and brighter future. 

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