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4 Reasons Why the Furniture Industry in India Needs to Shift to Space-saving Options Instead of searching for more spaces and expanding cities to suburban areas, we need to think in terms of using the existing spaces to the best advantage of using utility furniture

By Kamil Pawlowicz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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India offers a large workforce a majority of which is now shifting to big cities. An article published on a leading website said that more than 50 per cent of India's population would start to live in urban areas by 2030.

There are three factors that are posing a challenge in Indian urban areas –

1] Cost of renting or buying a house: It is becoming increasingly difficult to get the best amenities and maintain a certain standard of living in Indian metro cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi or Bengaluru. For instance, in a Tier-2 city, you may be able to buy or rent a 3BHK apartment but the same price can get you a 1BHK in the metros.

2] Cost of living: When one sets up the house or an office in a metro city, it comes with the additional cost of buying basic facilities such as furnishing and maintenance. This further adds to the annual housing expenses while living in a city.

3] Scarcity of resources: According to McKinsey, the country's cities are expected to grow from 340 million people in 2008 to a whopping 590 million in 2030. Moreover, meeting the demand for urban services in these cities will require US$ 1.1 trillion in capital investment over the next two decades. The urban growth has also led to existing problems related to pollution, traffic congestion and water scarcity.

Working in various industries in India for a couple of years and observing demographic changes, the demand for certain products is or would be far higher than the ability of suppliers to deliver the products. The furniture market is mostly unorganized, lacking product variety, quality standards, and supply power. Statisa reported that the revenue in the furniture and homeware segment is currently US$ 1,399 million in 2018 and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 17.2%. This would make the market volume of US$ 2,636 million by 2022.

In India, it's not just home-owners who need to think of space-saving modern furniture solutions. A large network of hostels and sharing apartments are mushrooming in major cities here apart from hotels and hospitals that need to opt for space-saving options today.

Instead of searching for more spaces and expanding cities to suburban areas, we need to think in terms of using the existing spaces to the best advantage of using utility furniture. Here's why –

1] Cost effective

Space-saving furnishing solutions are extremely cost-effective. Such furniture uses bare minimum yet essential raw material to make robust products. This reduces the overall production cost and makes it more affordable for people living in cities. For instance, a 100% wooden coffee table costs anywhere between Rs 12k to 30k depending on the size and build. However, a space-saving foldable coffee table would use metal legs and a wooden top which reduces the price to Rs 5k to 15k.

2] Practical utility

Space-saving furniture options often have more practical utility than traditional furniture. For instance, a traditional dining table may have a wooden or a glass top. It's extremely hard to move and requires maintenance of the glass or wood. However, space-saving options such as a foldable bed or wall dining table create extra utility as they can be used for more than one purpose.

3] More volume in less space

Needless to say that the whole point of space-saving furniture is to be able to do more in less space. Hostels and hospitals, therefore, must opt for bunk beds that save a lot of space and are able to accommodate more people. Similarly, educational institutions can opt for foldable benches, chairs or tables in order to create space whenever needed.

4] Mobility

Shifting of furniture while changing houses or office is another challenge with traditional options. Space-saving furniture is often put together with nuts and bolts and can be assembled or de-assembled as per need. This saves it from damage and increases its durability, thus giving a better ROI than traditional furniture.

Space saving furniture today is the need of Indian furniture industry.

Kamil Pawlowicz

Co-founder, Camabeds

Mr Kamil Pawlowicz is the co-founder of the startup Camabeds – a venture of Natasian Corporation Pvt Ltd which was founded in 2014 based out of Spain. He along with two Spanish entrepreneurs Fernando Villuendas and Antonio Fernandez came to India driven by country’s demand for high-quality services and products.

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