The e-commerce marketplace in India has been traditionally dominated by electronics and fashion, a trend driven by its younger customer base.
However, 2016 is going to be the year for furniture, says Flipkart. According to a study conducted by Flipkart of over 50 million shoppers, the home and furnishing market seems to be an emerging segment and South India has been leading the run.
E-commerce major Flipkart forayed into home and furnishings with the launch of its home decor range in March 2015 and furniture in August 2015. Witnessing a growth of 50% month-onmonth, Flipkart is banking big on this segment. “With the furniture and furnishings market in India valued at $20 billion today, this is emerging as a big category for us,” said Anil Goteti, VP (retail), Flipkart.
The last few years have seen the rise of several vertical players in the furniture market including Mumbaibased Pepperfry, Ratan Tata backed Urban Ladder and Gurgaon headquartered Fab Furnish.
Offering a wide range of furniture at attractive prices at just a click, these startups have been giving tech savvy customers value for money and their time. Driven by the rise of these startups, horizontal players such as like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have also forayed into the category.
“There is sufficient room for horizontal and vertical players,” said Goteti. “We offer a wide range of furniture on possibly the biggest platform available today. The moot question is whether businesses are able to give customers the best value proposition,” he added.
A trend that Flipkart has observed is the increasing adoption of online purchasing by a younger audience. Products such as 2-seater sofas, coffee tables, queen beds rather than king-sized beds leading within the home market, are considered indicators. “Youngsters do not have time to visit a showroom and inspect furniture. They look at making such choices by looking up online and relying on the seller for the quality of the product,” said Goteti.
South has emerged as the largest customer base for large furniture, clocking more than half of the total sales across India for Flipkart. Bangalore and Hyderabad are driving sales followed by Delhi NCR and Mumbai.
With rise of furniture rental startups like Bangalore-based Furlenco and Mumbai-centred Rentomojo, is there enough in the pie for everyone? It’s too early to comment, said Goteti.
“Such players target the moving population or the paying guest type of setup. Renting furniture works on a temporary basis but if somebody is looking at it long term, cost of ownership will work out cheaper,” he said.