Ajith Mohan Karimpana is the Founder and CEO of Furlenco, India’s fastest growing furniture and home living Subscription Company. He is a versatile entrepreneur with a great knack for spotting transformational business opportunities, a trait that also led him to establish Furlenco. Ajith is a BTech graduate in Industrial Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar. He has an MS in Computer and Information Science from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Apart from being a successful and inspirational business leader, Ajith is a voracious reader and has a penchant for languages.
For businesses, success is the result of proactive thinking and receptivity to change. Every industry needs to understand the current predilections of its consumers and adapt to the latest trends. Business leaders must actively engage in recognising the changing customer preferences and market trends so that the services they provide align with these emerging changes. And, this approach is the key to business growth and sustainability.
The Indian furniture market was valued at US$17.8 billion in 2020 and will presumably rise to US$37.7 billion by the end of the year 2026, growing at an impressive CAGR of 13.37% during that time. Meanwhile, the total rental market for furniture and appliances in India reached US$4.5 billion during FY21. Considering these numbers, we can outline an immense scope for growth in this industry.
The industry has seen constant innovation with brands devising creative and contemporary propositions keeping in mind the general trends. For example, conversations around sustainability, conscious consumption and optimum resource utilisation have resulted in furniture businesses finding more takers for rental or subscription services. Similarly, there has been an increase in preference for digital services and the use of advanced technology. Tech-driven developments have enabled quicker access to products, smoother processes, and paperless procedures. These, clubbed with personalised offerings, let customers be in complete control of what they consume.
Emerging Consumer Trends
The past few years have witnessed evolving consumer needs and aspirations. Ownership has taken a backseat as avenues like sharing and renting are compelling propositions that provide flexibility in choices at affordable prices. Instead of making big-ticket purchases, customers are increasingly looking for change and convenience, eager to adapt to new ways of life.
Another phenomenon is that people have begun opting for value in the now instead of being tied down in the long run. Experiencing a service is more important to the average consumer than owning a product, albeit the pandemic has limited this to what services one can experience at home.
The result is that people are readily accepting newer models of acquiring products, as seen with furniture. And this gives a lot of room for unique propositions in the industry to market themselves and grow as consumers are less inclined towards buying.
Effects of the Pandemic on Consumers and Businesses
Many of these trends have intensified since the pandemic. Altered consumer behaviour has caused product preferences to change as well. They are now looking to redefine their living spaces or find ergonomic work-from-home solutions. As customers spend more time at home, they also want to enhance the aesthetics of their home. They feel closer to their homes than ever before and are inclined towards convenient, affordable and tech-savvy offerings to help them navigate today’s times. Creating a home office, balcony makeovers, and furniture designed for homeschooling are popular choices.
Additionally, establishing cleanliness and safety protocols have gained significant importance for businesses during the pandemic. They must take proactive, extensive measures to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. Brands have to reassure their customers by adopting enhanced product sanitisation and packaging processes. Similarly, social distancing protocols, distribution of masks, and thorough sanitisation of warehouses are necessary to safeguard employees now and even in the future.
Future of the Industry
Keeping in mind these factors, the prospects for the furniture industry are promising. It will continue to grow due to the convenience and multifunctionality it offers customers looking for different solutions in the retail landscape.
Previously, people needed special occasions or reasons to revamp their homes and living spaces. But this has changed as customers have begun seeing home furniture and interior decor as a way to showcase their personality, resulting in a larger market for these products.
For younger generations, living light is often the preference. So naturally, they find furniture rentals and subscriptions the more intelligent choice to stay flexible while also being conscious consumers.
In the future, brands will need to cater to a large audience without creating more products or over-utilising scarce resources. Tech-driven and sustainable approaches will be the way forward as brands consider the need for circularity in what they use and produce.
The furniture industry has gained momentum and is growing at an exceptional rate. Several factors like seamless digital services, sustainability, and efficient logistics will build it further. Creative brand offerings that go with current customer requirements like rentals, subscriptions and sustainable models, along with top-notch digital services, are guaranteed to help businesses thrive.