Indians have very high brand awareness: Philipp Blum
Indians have very high brand awareness: Philipp Blum

Austria based international furniture fittings specialist, Blum has recently launched its first showroom in India. It has launched this 2,150 sqft of area showroom to be a part of market development in India, while eyeing for long term sustainable growth in India. As per the company, three most important success factors they believe are innovative products, committed employees and an international presence. While selling the products through its partner brand, Hafele in India, Blum is aiming to grow in parallel with industry growth of 20-25 YOY. Hence, talking about its late entry in India, target audience, competition, Philipp Blum, Managing Director, Blum Austria spoke to

What inspired you to launch your showroom in India?
India is a huge potential market. China market has grown exponentially in the last few decades and similarly India is also growing. Launching of this showroom is simply a step to show that we want to be the part of this market development. We wanted to be present in the market with our own showrooms where we can show our complete range furniture and kitchen solution to our customers.

Why did you take so much time to open your experience centre in India?
We have our partner brand, Hafele which is selling our products in India and it is doing good job for us. We will continue with the brand because we think that’s a way to strengthen our partnership if both the partners invest in the market together. We also have our sales team which is supporting us heavily by selling products to our customers.

Are you planning to open more showrooms in India?
At the moment we are happy with this showroom and not planning to have more. We are here for long term with sustainable growth. We will slowly build a good team first rather than just increasing the number of showrooms. Then in the next three to four years we will look forward to Delhi and Bangalore market.

I think currently our presence in Hafele showrooms is much important to have close contacts with consumers. I don’t think customers always come to the showroom, but we have to go to the customers place, visit them and see what they are dealing with, what their problems are and what they wish.

Are you planning to go online?
The whole world is going online. Since you can buy products directly from Blum in India, it doesn’t make sense to go online.

According to you how is the furniture fittings market in India?
India is a price sensitive market. It takes more time to get upgraded. We do have clientele who ask for most expensive best quality products. Also, there are varieties of different clients who only want china products. The furniture fittings market is growing by 20-25 percent YOY in India and that is the minimum growth we are expecting to attain annually.

For the complete kitchen, the price range starts from Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 and the maximum goes to Rs 50 lakh. We pay import duty of 29.7 on our products. 

Have you customised your products for the Indian market?
All our designs are international standards. Around 90 percent of our newer range is available in India. We have also come up with the customised products for the Indian market, basically for the sea facing cities. We manufacture almost all our products locally in Austria. We have only one manufacturing plant in US because they have different kitchen style.

What are your expectations from GST?
It will help us streamline our business all over India. At the moment we have a huge base in Mumbai and supplying the products to other states is a big challenge.

What is your target audience?
We only cater to B2B clients including dealers, kitchen manufacturers, designers and OEMs. We do not directly deal with end consumers, there are either dealers in between, franchisee or kitchen manufacturers and from them the end consumer buys.

How do you see the competition in the Indian market?
We have same competitors in India as we have worldwide. There is competition from the branded segment as well as China made products. Luckily Indians have very high brand awareness. Hence, China products are not hampering us in India like in other countries. I think Ikea’s entry in India will help educating the market and increase the consumer awareness and professionalism. It will take time for Ikea to reach out to consumers in India.

How many showrooms you have globally?
We have around 100 showrooms globally. We have 28 subsidiaries and representative offices around the world. With Hafele, we jointly take care of India and neighboring countries, such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Approximately 97 percent of our revenue comes from our global markets. 

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