IKEA, the furniture retailer which bets big on sustainability, has opened its first store in Hyderabad on August 09. The Swedish home furnishing major has been sourcing from India for its global stores for more than 30 years. Its plan to open retail stores in 40+ cities across the country, reinforces its long-term commitment and deep connection with India.
Patrik Antoni, Deputy Country Manager, IKEA India says, “We see that Indian market holds a lot of potential for brand IKEA. We do not see India as a country, but we see it as a continent with a lot of people and lot of needs. We see a lot of micro-terms that will support us along with other retailers. It is a growing economy, maybe we might be a little bit bumpy initially but over the coming years India will grow from strength to strength as an economy.”
He further adds, “We see it as a young country with almost 500 million people below 25 and they will need new homes, we also have a strong observation that people who will shift cities will also need new homes. Then we are very excited about India in the sense that people love homes and it is not the same in the other Asian countries where people many times celebrate outside the home. While in India, it is family, friends, festivals and all over the food, so the four F’s drives life at home and there cannot be a better place for a home furnishing company to be.”
The IKEA store in Hyderabad offers ideas, inspiration and solutions. It exhibits two full homes that reflect ‘Life at Home’ in Hyderabad, besides different room sets based on different parts of the home like bedroom, kitchen, children’s room and living room. It will also have a market hall where you will find home kitchen utensils and accessories, textiles, rugs, lighting, decoration, stationary and even live plants.
According to Antoni, “The strength of IKEA Hyderabad is that we have brought all the global IKEA concepts here. We have not compromised on anything. We have got the great experience that we are known all across the world – the inspiration, the customer service, the range – all this has come with us.”
“What we have done special is that how we have composed the products in the room settings. What we are trying to do is to be relevant for the local market. We have done around 1,000 home visits and research was based on how people live and how they want to live and then we are putting our products in a unique way that represents the Indian needs. If you compare the rooms in IKEA Hyderabad to IKEA Sweden, the main difference is how the rooms are composed and products are composed. On above that, we have 1,000 products that are locally done for India which comes a lot around the food range like frying pans, idli makers etc and coloured bedsheets that we normally do not carry. So we have customised quite a bit,” adds Antoni.
The 400,000 sq. ft debut outlet in India, features 7,500 furniture and home furnishing products and a 1,000-seater restaurant – which is IKEA’s largest in over 400 stores it has globally.
“Even IKEA restaurant, which is largest in the IKEA world, is also connected to India’s love for food. We really believe that restaurant will be a huge pull and bring in a lot of people here and we believe that their interaction with IKEA will be over a meal. They will get to know about us through quality of food with low prices and they will realise that the range that we sell is in the same direction,” asserts Antoni.
Antoni says IKEA would have both large and small stores and more touch points. The e-commerce platform would be launched next year.
“IKEA Hyderabad is a large store as comapred to many of our other stores across the world. When we enter Mumbai, we want to enter as a multi-channel retailer. Going ahead, we are looking at a store giving a same brand experience, a number of smaller format stores, which will still be big stores, where we can get closer to the customers in the city centres and then an online experience also that gives customers an opportunity to meet IKEA whenever, wherever and however they want,” reveals Antoni.
Highlighting the USP of the brand, Antoni says, “We are building our customer experience on knowledge. So we do not just produce furniture but we are a Life at Home company. We have been in this business from more than 60 years, and we have a learnt a lot about Life at Home and we combine and build our range based on this knowledge. We do not have a chair that just looks good but it has a function, style and sustainability. Then we have 7,500 products that are built together.”
The brand is counting on 15 percent growth year-on-year easily on same store basis because the interest in Life at Home will grow.
According to Antoni,”More the interest in Life at Home will grow in India, more players players will enter India and then the market will grow. This is just a beginning of a new era.”
In the next phase of expansion, IKEA will be present in other cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata with a multi-channel approach. By 2025, the brand is looking at opening more than 25 touchpoints across various cities.