Singapore furniture brand Commune is all set to heat up the Indian home decor market by opening its first store in March 2019. Vijay Shukla, VP – Franglobal Advisors, India partner for Commune, shares the brand’s vision for India
What’s your assessment of the Indian home decor market and with what vision are you entering India?
Furniture, as a category, is growing in India. It is pegged at USD 19-18 billion and is projected to grow to USD 27 billion by 2022-23. The housing sector is developing very fast so that is also driving growth. Secondly, the upper-middle-class segment is also growing here which is further boosting the demand. In India, 60-70% furniture is being imported and these importers are single-owned private businesses while organised players are very few. And they have started coming in off late. There is a huge market waiting to be tapped and scope for many more players to enter and grow. As such, this is the best time to enter India.
There are many national and international players already present in India. How will you create your USP that will set you apart from the competition?
Commune as a brand has its own unique personality and identity. The furniture is completely solid wood furniture. Commune has been in this business since 1972 and they have been selling their furniture worldwide. The current trend of mix and match furniture or DIY furniture is absolutely there and we will keep up with the demand.
What’s your market positioning?
We would be selling completely international products but we will still remain affordable. We will take a mid-level positioning.
What’s the brand’s franchise strategy?
We are very clear for our franchise model. We are not looking for investors. Rather, we are looking for franchise partners who aspire to get associated with this kind of a brand. And in the process also add to brand equity in India. We are very clear about it and we are playing very safe as we need to maintain brand aspiration and brand values. Our franchisees need not have any prior experience in home decor as the brand is an expert in running furniture stores and an expert in managing retail operations. Therefore, we will share our experience and skills with our franchisees. In fact, we will support our franchisees right starting from developing a property to opening a store, training the staff systems and control, managing sales pitches, etc. In short, we will be handholding the franchisees in every aspect.
When are you targeting your first store? What’s the long-term plan?
The first store should come up by March 2019. We would be targeting the top 10 markets of India including Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. We plan to open 50+ stores in three years and over 200 outlets in five years.