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Jan, 04 2013

Opening windows to Prosperous venture

With attractive projects offering high value addition and returns, the industry of contemporary window solutions provides a lucrative business in India. Catch a glimpse of the big opportunities this sector offers to dealers and distributors.

A Window is no longer an object made only for ventilation but has become an accessory to beautify one's house or office with multiple functions. Being a vital part of home furnishings and décor, the modern day windows and doors have replaced the traditional wooden and glass ones with contemporary foil. Ultra Polyvinyl Chloride (uPVC) window and organic chic blinds are being preferred by suburb consumers. These contemporary window solutions offer not only suave look to any window but are also among the most popular trends in the sector of home furnishings and interior decor. With varieties, including roller blinds, vertical blinds, Venetian blinds, woven blinds, bamboo blinds, roll up, Roman blinds, canopies, awnings, etc, anyone could deck up windows and doors in a smart way. These windows can be motorised, operated either by remote control or manually, depending upon the requirement.

Burgeoning market
According to the Long, Kenneth 2005, World Windows and Doors, Study #1977, the Freedonia Group, the size of Indian market for windows and doors is Rs 12,000 crore approximately, with the predominant material for constructions being timber and aluminium, out of which nearly Rs 300 crore exists for uPVC windows. uPVC windows and doors are made from poly vinyl chloride resin, one of the most extensively used thermoplastics finding end uses in diverse sectors. These are extensively used overseas but it is at a nascent stage in India. uPVC windows have been well accepted globally for their better aesthetics and excellent insulation features. Following the trend in the global market, India has started achieving more in this direction but much needs to be done to replicate the success stories of its counterparts abroad.

A home-grown brand, Shani Corporation Limited (SCL), is one of the manufacturers of uPVC windows in India. Started in 2011 by Capt G S Rekhi (retd), the company manufactures CORA uPVC performance windows which incorporate all the best in uPVC technology and quality. Capt Rekhi, Director, SCL, believes: “The key features that contribute to the growth of contemporary window solutions in India are climatic conditions and budget of the discerning buyer. We do have a healthy working tie-up with architects, dealers and corporates.”

Window Techs India Pvt Ltd is another brand that successfully launched 'Sandwich Glass Blind', a unique solar shading system, in 2007, in the Indian market. Its advance technology, durability and hygienic properties won accolades among the targeted customers, architects, interior designers, builders and retailers. Says Shanu Ali, Marketing Manager, Window Techs: “The USP of our brand is that it is a fully automated shading system with multiple controls. It is energy conserving and offers proper utilisation of sunlight. Also, the hygiene is maintained with a concealed system where no dust and dirt can enter the room, hence, giving a competitive advantage over roller, Roman blinds, awnings, canopies and curtains.”

High growth potential
Considering the preferences of consumers in urban areas and the latest trends in the sector of home furnishings, more and more entrepreneurs are dwelling in the industry of contemporary window solutions.

“It is true that metros and tier-I and II cities have more potential for us because of good purchasing power of people, their awareness about and passion for new technology. We are sure of our success in these cities, proceeding with our effective marketing strategies,” says Shanu Ali.

With the growth in infrastructure and building construction, the sector of contemporary windows holds great potential in the market. It offers a great opportunity to entrepreneurs to get into uPVC window extrusion & fabrication or organic solutions.

The size of the contemporary window market is speculated to rise in the near future, creating space for four to five big companies in this sector. However, the opportunity in this sector would be synergistic for the entrepreneurs who are already in the business of construction. More and more entrepreneurs are keen on investing in projects which have very high market potential.

Many other brands, both national and international like Lenbitz, Vista fashions and Hunter Douglas, have spread wings across the country targeting consumers with contemporary tastes for home furnishings. They are operational in the market via franchising, dealership and distributorship.

About the suitability of a business model for his business, Capt Rekhi says: “We prefer the dealership model as the initial investment is low and the break-even time for the dealer is fast. It also helps us in opening outlets in established markets.” Echoing similar views, Shanu Ali says: “Sometimes it's an advantage to operate through dealers and distributors as the investor's experience to understand our product is better. Officially, we don't set any criteria for dealership, but training and support is offered to every dealer.”

Overcoming hurdles
According to Capt Rekhi, lack of awareness about the benefits of the product and the unorganised manner in which the industry is run are the two major hurdles the uPVC industry is facing. “We need to educate the public at large about the health benefits of uPVC and its weather-resistant properties,” he says.

For Shanu Ali the biggest challenge is less awareness about energy conservation. He says: “We can play with solar energy and utilise it anyway we want, if we have a scientifically advanced fenestration. There is a need to educate people through exhibitions, media and campaigns to go for a right window solution.”


Investment requisites & roll-out plans

The manufacturers of these contemporary windows are vying for the markets in metros and tier- I & II cities to spread their footprints.

“Our focus presently is on North India for future expansion due to the lower penetration of uPVC and the extreme climatic conditions. We are targeting all locations and have not restricted ourselves to certain markets,” says Capt Rekhi. Anyone with some experience in the construction line can seek the dealership of SCL. Also, the brand will provide in-house training and backup to every new dealer, ensuring that a dealer without a construction background is also comfortable. The total investment required for the dealership of SCL is Rs 10-20 lakh along with an area of 500 plus sq ft.

Window Techs Pvt Ltd. has a warm presence in India having completed many projects in Asia and Europe. The brand boasts of having a niche market in metropolitan cities. “We are now planning to penetrate into cities like Chandigarh, Dehradun, Lucknow and Hyderabad, which are growing at a very good rate,” says Shanu Ali. The brand has 30 dealers across India with three company-owned units.

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