SR Research- Is Luxury Interior Segment rising post COVID-19?

Last few years have been truly phenomenal for Luxury interior segment in India as the sector witnessed unprecedented growth owning to factors like rise in the luxury property market, people's aspirations going up for their homes, increased global travelling etc. However, as all good things come to end, the outbreak of COVID 19 came as a breaker for the sector. But as every evening has a morning, it seems that the gloomy atmosphere in the luxury interior sector is finally clearing up paving way for the upcoming growth. Surfaces Reporter (SR), in an exclusive report, spoke to the experts from various cities across the country to establish the data about who are the catalyst of this growth and it's city wide reach. If you also want to talk about your city, write to us at Press@surfacesreporter.com

Luxury Segment rising in these cities

Surfaces Reporter (SR) in an exclusive research found that major growth in the luxury interiror segment is happening in the cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Indore, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Nellore, Chittoor, Ongole, Kadapa etc. These cities are witnessing huge growth post COVID 19 according to the experts we spoke to.

Manish Kumat, Principal Designer, Design Cell, Indore says, “In the niche segment of boutique practices, there is a lot of development post Pandemic. The sentiment is shared across cities like Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru etc., For a city like Indore, the moment the lockdown got over, there were a huge number of enquiries to the extent that we now couldn’t afford to keep the office close and working in the full capacity. All the enquiries came from the luxury segment and I call them COVID-generated inquiries.”

“During the lockdown everything was absolutely stagnant; there were scattered phone calls mentioning the enquiries but ever since the Unlock began, it’s in full swing. There are days when we discuss two-three projects simultaneously. I believe that as soon as the Monsoon gets over and somewhere around Diwali things will pick up in a great way,” he added.

While Hyderabad was on the rise much before the Lockdown, things have definitely gone a notch up now owing to the fact that there is no big ticket items available right now on which people could splurge admits Supraja Rao, Principal, Design House, Hyderabad. She says, "I do not think that the rise in Luxury residential sector particularly Villas in Hyderabad and surrounding areas has anything to do with Pandemic. In fact the city was on rise even before the pandemic hit. Nothing new has been started by the developers. But I agree that as a city the standard of living has risen in Hyderabad which is clearly visible since people do not have any big ticket item available right now to spend on. So the luxury interior segment is definitely going up in the city."

 Ashmi Shah, Principal, F.QUAD Architecture, Hyderabad also supports and says people are buying more farmhouses and weekend homes to have a place to relax. She says, “Post COVID-19 Pandemic, there is a rise in the demand for Farmhouses Private Villas and Luxury homes. Because of COVID Lockdown people got imprisoned in the four walls ( apartments) feeling claustrophobic with less of open spaces are now thinking of building farmhouses or weekend homes with open breathable spaces with lots of fresh air, greenery and nature around which is causing the rise in the demand for luxury interiors."

"There is a lot of development post Pandemic. The sentiment is shared across cities like Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru etc., For a city like Indore, the moment the lockdown got over, there were huge number of enquiries to the extent that we now couldn’t afford to keep the office close."

Echoing the same sentiment, Anil Kumar Creative Home, Ongole, Andhra Pradesh says “While Hyderabad is a very competitive market, we are witnessing real growth in sectors around Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Here we have serious luxurious buyers who are not hesitant on spending money. The trend has only increased post Lockdown. In fact, the luxury interior is witnessing spike in the Nellore, Chittoor, Ongole, Kadapa and Rajampet regions more than Hyderabad. Today, the customers are spending equivalent to buying an apartment to do the interiors. The client is very much informed and they want to apply newer luxury materials like Solid surfaces, mother of Pearl, Wood mosaics, Lucento panels, PVD related furniture and many more to design the interiors. They don’t want common materials.”

The Reason behind unexpected growth

While many believed that the outbreak of COVID 19 and the subsequent lockdown would significantly impact the growth in the luxury interior segment, Industry experts, during the High End Residences Webinar organized by Surfaces Reporter in the month of May have already predicted the upcoming Rise. (To read the entire coverage click).

The most important reason for this unprecedented growth is that during lockdown, people spent too much time at their home. This time spent with the family resulted in taking the deferred or pending decisions of doing the interiors of their spare properties. They also felt the need of a fully fledged separate office space at their home to work efficiently. Such factors became the crucial catalyst for the growth of the sector.

“What I believe had happened is, the rich people have a lot of properties at many places while living in a major city. While they were busy earlier, the Lockdown, not only united them with their families but also made to think the use of all those. properties. They have decided to move out and use their spare properties. All the deferred decisions about construction and interiors were taken up during the lockdown when the families sat together and hence the huge number of enquiries. It is a very interesting phenomenon,” says Manish Kumat.

People get bored of the same interior and want to change it in every few years irrespective of the cost. The culture of Working From Home due to COVID also has a significant impact of people’s decision for renovating the interior of their homes and taking it a notch further as they are spending more time at home. Such people now want to have a Board Room, Meeting Room or a fully equipped office in their home. This has increased the demand for luxury interiors in the sector. COVID has given a lot of opportunities for different businesses,” Anil Kumar quips.

It’s not the same everywhere

However, the rise in the market is not the same everywhere. While some cities like Pune and Jaipur has no effect, Ludhiana and Surat cities are witnessing a complete downward trend.

Ar Anshuman Sharma, Chairman, IIID, Jaipur, says, “There is no such spike in Jaipur or particularly Rajasthan region. Maybe a few cases here and there where people are looking for luxury residences or interiors but nothing too significant. The reason for the same could be as the outbreak of the COVID Disease was not that alarming in Jaipur as compared to other states or cities. Things have been largely under control in Jaipur, although after the lockdown period the cases have been on the rise but that actually hasn’t brought any sea change in the Luxury buying scenario in the city.

Similarly, Pune also has little to no effect and the situation is almost similar as it was earlier. Ar Anjali Lovekar, Principal, Lovekar Design Associates, Pune, says, "There are two types of the rich people in Pune. Industrialists and businessmen who have been rich for generations and the new rich who have earned during the boom in the IT sector. Post COVID, while there has been very little change in the buying habits of the traditionally rich; it’s the latter who are afraid of spending now. The higher middle class who is always aspiring to climb up is now somewhat afraid of spending the money over lifestyle since there is no surplus for building up a lifestyle by going out, shopping or eating gourmet food, at least until the pandemic is over. People who were always into luxury segment are not so much affected and will continue with their luxurious ways as soon as the market changes since it is a way of life for them. For now, however, in the interior luxury segment of our projects there are a few enquiries are being generated. The pandemic may require us to work around all available local resources till the world has adjusted to the new normal.

Talking about the scenario Ludhiana and across Punjab, Ar Sanjay Goel, Director- Ludhiana Smart City Ltd says, “There is no such spike in and across Punjab region now days. The real estate market was already slow in January- February 2020, and eversince the outbreak of COVID-19, it has gone more downhill. People are truly worried to spend on luxury on their homes. All the major transactions that happened were done either before COVID or last year. Not much new deals are being done as the market in Haryana and Punjab is marred by the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, in the Ludhiana region, people prefer more independent housing instead of opting for vertical developments. For the last 4-5 years a lot of construction activities are happening in Delhi-NCR, Punjab and Haryana and other major cities but it’s not the case now."

Seconding the opinion, Ar Bankim Dave, Architect, Secretary General, WCLID, Surat says, “The real estate market in Surat and surrounding areas is very down and the same can be said for the luxury interior segment as well. The buying and selling of flats has gone down. I believe that the entire Gujarat is facing the same scenario.”

The Road Ahead

After this survey, one thing is clear to Surfaces Reporter; while the road to recovery is a long and tiring, it is not far and the result is going to be phenomenal. The rise in the luxury interior segment of the country albeit few cities, truly signifies how growth is just a few steps ahead and all we have to do is work towards it. No doubt COVID has left a significant dent in the economy which will take years to heal if not decades, but there is hope and we must strive for it.

Image credit: Pinterest

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Surfaces Reporter is India’s 1st magazine specialized on “products & materials” for architecture & Interiors! The prime objective of Surfaces Reporter magazine is to contribute positively to the Indian material industry, with unbiased information & awareness initiatives.

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