India’s furniture industry is dominated by unorganised local and regional players; however, the entrance of e-commerce players and Ikea has altered the furniture retail landscape. Online sales will be key to growth in the category, as players ramp up their supply chain networks. Rivalries are expected to intensify as both online and store-based players compete to gain the attention of aspirational consumers seeking out stylish and affordable home furnishings.
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India is a country characterised by tradition, diversity and dynamism. It has experienced relatively high economic growth rates, especially when compared with developed markets. Nonetheless, more than 48% of the country’s population lives below the international poverty line.
India’s furniture industry is dominated by unorganised local and regional players (including “mom and pop” stores). There are a handful of store-based organised players, including Godrej Interio and Home Town; however, the most dynamic growth of late has come from the entrance of e-commerce players, for example Pepperfry, Urban Ladder and Flipkart.
In August 2018, Ikea opened its first store in India, in Hitec City, Hyderabad. The new store represents the beginning of Ikea’s expansion into India, with other stores in major cities and online sales planned over 2019-2025. Ikea claims to offer “furniture for all” through its competitive pricing strategy, but its success is likely to depend on its online sales capacity.
Offline furniture players are looking to expand online, while online players are moving offline. Omnichannel strategies are becoming a crucial prerequisite to success in India’s home furnishings industry. Augmented and virtual reality, online sales, delivery and installation are some of the ways in which companies vie for consumer attention and loyalty.
Home furnishings, especially furniture, is fast becoming the category to watch in India, as store-based and e-commerce players broaden product offerings, expand store networks and improve logistics capabilities to aid online sales.