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    Online buying boosts 'touch, feel' business of home decor furnishings

    Online buying boosts 'touch, feel' business of home decor furnishings

    Online buying boosts 'touch, feel' business of home decor furnishings
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    By IANS   IST (Published)

    Indians are becoming more conscious about the way their homes look and this has given new wings to the home decor segment on online platforms.
    Perhaps in response to the growing demand, Walmart announced this February the launch of redesigned home shopping experience on the web. This move was a part of the company's reorganisation of its home group division, and highlights home products like furniture, accessories and other decorative items.
    According to a joint report by KPMG and CII, the e-commerce retail logistics market is valued at $35 billion (Rs 2.35 lakh crore) in 2018, and is projected to witness a growth of 36% in the coming five years.
    Hussaine Kesury, chief category officer at Pepperfry, says India's furniture market looks promising with a sharp growth forecast for online sales.
    "While the total offline market is growing at 10-15% year over year, the online component is growing at 300% YoY. Over the next few years, we expect the online home and furniture (H&F) business to become 9% of overall e-commerce and 6% of the overall H&F market," Kesury told IANS.
    Pepperfry provides customers a choice through its portfolio of over 100,000 products across categories like furniture, home decor, lamps and lighting, furnishing, kitchen and dining, housekeeping, and hardware and electricals.
    "In the last six-and-a-half years, we have witnessed a significant jump in our traffic. With seven million unique visits a month, we dominate the segment at 60%  plus online traffic share. Having established its leadership in the furniture and home products segment in India, Pepperfry's revenue has grown at 83% over the last few years," said Kesury.
    At e-commerce portal Shopclues.com, home furnishings clock about 150,000 orders a month out of which 55% orders are for bed sheets. It is one of the fastest-growing portfolios in the home division and contributes 20% of the home and kitchen business and six per cent of the overall business.
    According to Ritika Tanjeja, Head of Category Management at ShopClues, the home decor market has seen an exponential growth in the past few years.
    "India's online home and furniture market was pegged at about $1 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at 36%. The general perception is that home furnishing online buyers are primarily from the metros, but over 60% of ShopClues customers in this category come from tier 3 and tier 4 markets and our numbers in terms of orders per month has seen a surge over the years," Taneja told IANS.
    She says that there have been inhibitions pertaining to the "feel" factor for online shopping, but things have changed now.
    "We have seen, and this is across segments and online marketplaces, that Indian consumers are opening up to the idea of choosing merchandise based on visuals and product information," she said.
    Sameer A.M., chief executive officer and founder of Bonito Designs, an interior space creator that offers cost-effective designs for home, too has seen the change.
    "Home furnishing market has soared in visibility, reach and affordability with the wider acceptance of e-commerce marketplaces as a reliable business dimension. With innovation in e-commerce on proactive quality and experience check combined with community driven reviews, feedback, the whole game is only getting better at an exponential rate," he told IANS.
    Raghunandan Saraf, chief executive officer and founder of sheesham wooden furniture online retailer and manufacturer Saraf Furniture, said Indians are more conscious than ever of the way their homes look and the vibe they exude.
    "This growth in demand is propelling online players to push the envelope of excellence and introduce the best of international styles and trends on their web platforms so that discerning Indian buyers have the choice that they desire. It's this demand-supply circle that is driving the explosion in this segment," Saraf told IANS.
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