In­te­ri­ors get done up stylishly as shop­pers go on­line

Liv­ing room fur­ni­ture is in de­mand, beds and wardrobes too get snapped up quickly as on­line shop­pers make the most of choices and deals avail­able on fur­ni­ture dot­coms

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Rozelle Laha

When she needed f ur ni­ture f or her new rented apart­ment af­ter a move to Delhi for work, Su­gandh Swani de­cided to ex­plore the on­line space. “The best part of my shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence was the va­ri­ety on of­fer. I am sure I would not have been able to check this vast range of fur­ni­ture had I gone to the mar­kets. The prices were very rea­son­able, spar­ing me the pain of bar­gain­ing with the shop­keep­ers,” says Swani, who has bought cof­fee ta­bles, bookshelves and other liv­ing room fur­ni­ture and will get a bed soon.

The mush­room­ing of e-com­merce play­ers in the fur­ni­ture, home and dé­cor space over the past five years has changed the way peo­ple style their liv­ing spa­ces. “The num­ber of shop­pers in­creases par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son. Dur­ing Di­wali, we have seen an im­pres­sive surge in the num­ber of buy­ers as this is the time when peo­ple like to ren­o­vate their homes and buy new fur­ni­ture. We have also seen a good rise in num­ber of shop­pers dur­ing the wed­ding sea­son,” says Ashish Garg, co-founder, FabFur­nish.

F rom wall paint­ings t o clocks, cof­fee ta­bles, so­fas and beds, peo­ple are buy­ing ev­ery­thing from within the com­fort of their homes - all of these, at highly dis­counted prices and zero travel costs. A quick chat with some of these dot­coms re­veals that most buy­ers are specif­i­cally fo­cused on their liv­ing rooms and pick­ing up fur­ni­ture for that space. “So­fas and seat­ing are our best­selling cat­e­gories. More than 30% of sales come from our liv­ing room cat­e­gory, fol­lowed by din­ing and other liv­ing room cat­e­gories such as cof­fee ta­bles, book­cases, TV units and others,” says Prithvi Raj Te­ja­vath, VP - cat­e­gory man­age­ment, Ur­ban Lad­der. He adds that there is a lot of de­mand for ac­cent and lounge seat­ing, as In­dian home­own­ers are be­gin­ning to ex­per­i­ment with colour.

Home dé­cor is among the big­gest cat­e­gories in prod­uct se­lec­tion at Ama­zon In­dia. “Cus­tomers in this cat­e­gory are con­stantly in search of new de­signs and prod­ucts such as wall clocks, wall stick­ers, mir­rors, photo frames and art­work. Wall stick­ers are amongst the fastest grow­ing sub-cat­e­gories, grow­ing at dou­ble the rate at which the home dé­cor cat­e­gory grew in the last quar­ter. Show­pieces, idols and fig­urines and ar­ti­fi­cial flora are amongst the other pop­u­lar cat­e­gories, the Ama­zon In­dia spokesper­son said.

Beds and wardrobes are also pop­u­lar. “Most of our con­sumers are peo­ple set­ting up their homes, es­pe­cially newly mar­ried peo­ple or those who have moved i nto t he city. These peo­ple fur nish their l iv­ing rooms as well as be­d­rooms. Beds and wardrobes are ba­sic us­age fur­ni­ture in ev­ery house- hold, there­fore mak­ing these the largest sell­ing prod­ucts,” says Kashyap Vada­palli, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, Pep­per­fry.

At Pep­per­fry, the largest sell­ing cat­e­gory ac­count­ing for 14% of sales is beds. In Delhi NCR, wardrobes have a large num­ber of tak­ers, mak­ing it the largest sell­ing prod­uct in the re­gion. At FabFur­nish, an­other e-fur­ni­ture com­pany that has been in the space since 2012, so­fas, beds and wardrobes sell the most at their site, whereas the de­mand is rel­a­tively lesser for wall shelves, cof­fee ta­bles and sim­i­lar fur­ni­ture.

At RoomS­tory, small fur­ni­ture items and soft fur­nish­ings like cur­tains and ta­ble linen com­prise of 40% each of their sales while the re­main­ing 20% com­prises of dec­o­ra­tion items. More than 30% of sales are in the liv­ing room cat­e­gory, fol­lowed by din­ing and other liv­ing room cat­e­gories such as cof­fee ta­bles, book­cases, TV units and others

Wall stick­ers are amongst the fastest grow­ing sub­cat­e­gories, grow­ing at dou­ble the rate at which the home dé­cor cat­e­gory grew in the last quar­ter Beds and wardrobes are also pop­u­lar

In a short span of time, these fur­ni­ture-sell­ing on­line play­ers have wit­nessed a good in­ter­est level among cus­tomers. For in­stance, Pep­per­fry has al­ready ful­filled one mil­lion cus­tomer or­ders by May 2015. At Ama­zon In­dia, too, launched in Septem­ber 2013, the home dé­cor cat­e­gory is in­creas­ingly gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity and has wit­nessed more than 35% growth in quar­ter-on-quar­ter de­mand in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2015, the Ama­zon In­dia spokesper­son said. “The fur­ni­ture mar­ket is grow­ing at a rapid pace. A ma­jor por­tion of the mar­ket is un­or­gan­ised which means that the growth po­ten­tial here is im­mense. In the past, we saw growth of around 50% year-on -year in terms of the num­ber of shop­pers,” Garg adds.

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