Laminate flooring in India has evolved as a product among consumers. Pergo, the Swedish laminate brand, brings in products that ensure stability in terms of wear and also weather conditions. Naresh Maheshwari, CEO of the Indian operation of Pergo, unveils his plans to grow further in Indian market, in an interaction with Gunjan Piplani.
Gunjan Piplani (GP): Give us a brief about Pergo and its operations in India?
Naresh Maheshwari (NM): Today, the name PERGO has become synonymous with laminate flooring. Pergo laminate flooring was invented by Perstorp AB, in 1977 and introduced in Sweden in 1984. Since its inception in Europe in the 1980’s, PERGO has been pioneering in high quality laminate flooring, with distinctive designs for both home and commercial environments. Pergo offers floors for which you wouldn’t have to compromise on beauty or practicality. Launched in India in 1999, After countless technical innovations and more than a few imitators, Pergo laminate floorings still remains the most trusted, most sought-after in the world & also in India .We took the product closer to the consumers from a traditional dealer network oriented distribution to our Authorized Channel Partners and Pergo Design Centres.
GP: What is the USP of Pergo as a brand?
NM: Our USP lies in the products of which the well renowned is the one made by high pressure laminate technology and named as “TitanX surface”.
GP: What are your product offerings? How often does Pergo launch a new range of products?
NM: Pergo offers a wide variety of flooring range to its customers depending upon the usage and footfall. So our range includes Pergo Public Extreme, made for the most demanding wear in public areas where the footfall is maximum; Pergo Original Excellence, preferably used for high wear in public areas and very high domestic wear. We also offer Pergo Total Design, Pergo Living Expression, Pergo Endless Plank,
Pergo Natural Variation and Pergo Domestic Extra.
After every 2 to 3 years, Pergo launches either new range of products or upgrades the product technically with new features.
Pergo recently launched three new ranges in 2012 - Natural Variation, Endless Plank & Total Design.
GP: Has the Indian user come off the age when laminate or wooden flooring were a more premium product and people were skeptical of using it due to Indian weather conditions?
NM: Yes, over the period of time people here in India have become brand conscious, their buying power has increased and also now consumer is aware of the advantages of laminate flooring with respect to time, hygiene, cost etc.
Pergo being the inventor of laminate floors have provided flooring solutions as per the Indian market and conditions and at the same time educated the end consumers as well as the installation team in India. However, laminate flooring is installed across India in different weather conditions and as such we do not have any problems or complaints due to different weather conditions.
GP: What are the business strategies of Pergo?
NM: To create awareness among the customer about laminate flooring and to have dealer network to spread reachability to customer and provide the flooring with best of services in the industry.
GP: What are your promotional and marketing strategies?
NM: We are focused on customer satisfaction, brand awareness and visibility.
GP: How are you retailing your brand in India?
NM: Pergo has appointed around 130 dealers and 33 Design Centres in India.
The Pergo Design Centres are well located stores with a contemporary design, product display and software to let the customers help choose the floors in major city of India.
In secondary cities our dealers help customer to buy flooring as per their choice.
GP: Do you plan to expand your presence in Indian market?
NM: Yes, we plan to have more than 50 new outlets on pan India basis during 2012.
GP: What according to you is the current status of the Indian flooring market? How much does laminate and wooden flooring contribute in this?
NM: As I mentioned before, Pergo India has the same products available in India from Sweden as per the requirement of our market. Recently customers have been exposed to the internet and existence of lot of other international brands in India, Pergo India shares a major amount of the sales including corporate tie-ups, PSU’s in India and as well in Housing & Hotel projects, so the India market is actually growing and customers prefer laminate flooring as an option for flooring. As the customers are becoming more and more aware of the advantages of laminate floorings and are choosing laminate flooring over normal floors.
As such there is no official data available but we assume that the laminate flooring market is approximately three to four per cent of overall flooring market.
GP: What is the rate at which this market is likely to grow?
NM: The market is likely to grow at a greater pace compared to the past as the consumers now-a-days have become brand conscious along-with quality assurance, customer delight and unique style which Pergo offers to its customers. In general we can say it is growing by 15 to 25 per cent.