The tiles, ceramics and sanitaryware segment has been recording consistent growth.
Reports indicate that the segment is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 8-10 per cent over FY2017-20, given the presence of multiple growth enablers. The ceramic tiles industry is likely to post a volume growth of around 8 per cent in FY19E and around 13 per cent in FY20E owing to higher disposable income and enhanced customer preferences.
The Prime Minister’s $ 20 billion Swachh Bharat Yojana has reportedly spurred an 81 per cent jump in sales of concrete building materials and 48 per cent increase in bathroom and sanitaryware sales. What’s more, the Government has also approved the construction of over 3.18 lakh more affordable houses in urban areas under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY-U) scheme, taking the total to 51 lakh units.
A centre for experience
To enhance the consumer’s buying experience, experience centres are being set up by companies that act as a one-stop shop for viewing their products. The growing number of these centres acts is enticing consumers to invest in premium products, therefore strengthening the growth of the market.
Between 2002 and 2007, H & R Johnson created the first generation of 22 experience centres, House of Johnson; back then, few dealers had big enough showrooms to accommodate their wide product range. “The first objective was to create a facility where we could display our wide range in a nice ambiance,” says Dinesh Vyas, Senior Vice-President and Head - Marketing, H & R Johnson (India), Division of Prism Johnson. “Many consumers do not get the end result they desire while selecting tiles and we discovered the problem was not always a bad tile but bad selection for a particular usage environment. Experience Centre is one of the channels where we provide the insights about tiles, different value propositions and suitability in different usage environment which helps the customers in taking informed decision. Realistic display mock-ups, beautifully done thematic panels and a virtual reality platform have made the selection process easy and enjoyable.” The company plans to create 25 centres across the country; 11 of these will be operational by March 2019 and the remaining will come up before December 2019.
Also in the league is CERA's Style Studios, which are periodically upgraded, renovated and expanded to take care of new product categories and designs. “CERA’s technological superiority and pioneering spirit can be gauged from the fact that it is the only company using 3D printing technology to develop new products quickly,” says Atul Sanghvi, Executive Director, CERA Sanitaryware.
Experience centres clearly help in the decision-making process.
“They help you understand where you can use a particular product compared to when you go through a catalogue, which does not provide you fine data,” says Monica Khosla Bhargava, Founder and Principal Architect, KHAM Consultants.
For his part, Vineet Verma, MRICS, Executive Director and CEO, Brigade Hospitality, suggests additional features these centres can provide. “One can be customising a design for a customer. This can add exclusivity to both the design and the project.”
Meanwhile, Lipika Sud, Director, Lipika Sud Interiors, believes experience centres are more beneficial to the end consumer. “Although overall it is a benefit, architects and interior designers are already aware of the developments,” she explains. “With personal product presentation from companies, visibility and awareness are already there. Also, professionals are often busy with their commitments. Instead of going to the experience centre, the company coming to the architect or interior designer saves time.”