As consumers shift preference towards purpose-driven brands and product solutions, the category will be driven not just by aesthetics but by innovative, performance-led and thoughtful products, believes Pokhriyal
India is no longer a testing ground, but a lucrative market for premium brands across sectors. Consumers are increasingly willing to spend on premium quality, along with becoming extremely value conscious. And the bathroom and sanitaryware market is no different. The current situation clearly indicates a more insistent consumer, all game to experiment with touchless/ contactless products in the category.
Estimated at Rs 4,800 crores, India’s sanitaryware market is the world’s second largest. Currently, the organised sector comprises almost 60% of the market and is primarily focused on the middle class and affluent segments in urban areas. The remaining is attributed to the unorganised sector.
In an invigorating conversation with Sudhanshu Pokhriyal, Chief Operating Officer, Bath Products, Brilloca Limited, he explains how the bathware sector has been impacted by the pandemic, how the union budget is expected to push the category demand, key marketing trends and much more.
Q. How has the bathware business in India evolved in the past months?
Overall, the sector’s growth has been muted on the account of subdued real estate performance, lukewarm consumer demand, disruptions in supply chain and business operations, and the outlook is modest for the next two to three years. Renovations will drive demand in the replacement market across both individual household and commercial applications. The government’s initiative such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is playing a significant role in expanding the mass-market segment.
India’s faucet market is valued at an estimated Rs 9,000 crore. Similar to the sanitaryware segment, the growth curve of faucets remains flat, despite its growth over the last couple of years owing to growth in real estate industry, increase in disposable income, changes in consumers’ preferences and lifestyle, and exposure to international brands.
Q. How is the bathware industry performing in the post-Covid era?
Bathware industry has bounced back after the lockdown. There has been a gradual rise and the last few months have been good. Our sanitaryware and faucets business has already recovered to pre-Covid levels, which is in-line with the revival trajectory of the industry. We expect to make a full recovery to pre-COVID level only by FY22.
Q. With the union budget announced this month, what kind of an impact is expected on your industry?
Overall, the Union Budget 2021 is a balanced, and growth-oriented one which focuses on putting the economy on an accelerated growth path. With the emphasis on sectors such as infrastructure, opportunities will be created for industries and consumers in the urban as well as rural pockets. Housing for all remains a priority for the Government and the extension of the tax holiday on the affordable housing projects is a welcome move, which would in the long run further boost demand for sanitaryware and faucet products. The significant allocation towards the Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 and Urban Jal Jeevan Mission highlights the emphasis of the Government on building a robust preventive health infrastructure across the country. As a holistic approach, the budget could have included immediate measures to boost the consumer sentiment.
Q. What key marketing trends are driving the bathware industry?
Despite the modest outlook, factors such as rise in the purchasing power, increase in the number of nuclear families and increase in the number of nuclear families will drive the growth of sanitaryware and faucet market. COVID has given a rise to personal hygiene and I believe, it will be further instrumental in driving the growth of this sector. Along with it, the increasing urbanization levels and growing construction of smart and luxury housing projects will further augment the demand for bathroom fittings.
Q. How do you best utilize technology for your products?
We have always been at the forefront of technology. We keep innovating to launch technologically advanced and efficient products that help us drive competitive advantage and lead the charge of the market. We have been deploying innovative water-saving technology for decades now, setting high benchmarks for resource and energy conservation from the beginning. Over the years, we have developed and launched numerous waters saving closets and faucets with unique and advanced features. We have introduced ‘Automate’, India’s first intelligent wall mounted closet with symphonic flushing. We also launched vortex technology (splendor vortex) in water closets introducing a unique flushing mechanism which creates a powerful swirling movement while flushing, making it more effective while utilizing less water. Our faucets have water-saving aerators with a unique PCA DC technology, which guarantees a steady supply of water across all pressure conditions, mitigating the requirement to use extra water in low-pressure conditions. We have a range of 23 sanitaryware products and 20 faucets which are star rated for their water conserving capabilities by International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).
Recently, keeping the pandemic in mind, we launched environment-friendly contact-free faucets under the brand Hindware Italian Collection that has seen great market traction so far.
Moreover, as living spaces become smarter, bathrooms will not be left behind as consumers seek smart technologically driven products to drive convenience.
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