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Cover Story | August 2019

Hometex going upmarket

Some textile companies are making a comeback in the home category with premium products to build better margins. No doubt, it is the grand era of the upmarket in home textiles, finds the ITJ Cover Story.

The home textiles market, where premium products were a handful just a years ago, is showing signs of a flood of such high-end goods, thanks to the rising affordability of the middle class and a growing sensitivity to fashion. Raymond Home, Welspun with premium brand Christy and Bombay Dyeing with stores revealing upscale look and feel are the changes that have happened in the last few years.

The market, which is estimated at Rs 18,000 crore with penetration of organised retail at a mere 8 per cent, driving more textile brands upgrade their offerings since consumers are scrambling to pay a premium. In addition, new brands fully aware of the burgeoning market for home textiles are gearing up for a sizeable slice in this market. Some textile companies are making a comeback in the home category with premium products to build better margins. No doubt, it is the grand era of the upmarket in home textiles!

Growth of modern trade outlets is also fuelling the premium end of the home market. New entrants like Portico and Decitex already claim to have captured a majority share, after having given a big boost to their designing capabilities and upgrading production facilities.

We pioneered the concept of customised bedsheets: Dr Banerjee

Do we see hometex going upmarket? Your comments.

Over last 20 years, thanks to the phenomenal growth of Indian retailing, increase in purchasing power of Indian customers and growing consumerism, the lifestyle of Indian middle class has transformed. People take pride in giving a trendy look to their homes by picking up the best home textile items. This has resulted in hometex going upmarket.

Premium goods in hometex are showing uptrends.

How are you meeting this challenge as a result of rising middle class affordability? We have always offered products in premium range for our customers. We have designer bedsheets, which is priced at Rs 6,500 per bed sheet. Our most premium brand is 1000 TC, which is sold at Rs 10,000 per bed sheet.

Niche products with special traits are also increasing. Any contribution from your company.

We have many products with special traits such as easy breath comforters, Pillows are made up of superior Advansa Suprelle fibres, higher GSM zero twist towels, etc. We also have towels made up of bamboo cotton fibres, which give towel additional anti-bacterial properties of bamboo along with increasing its absorbency.

All these new trends & market trends call for upgrading of facilities & R&D. How has your company met these requirements?

Last year, Bombay Dyeing became the first company in the world to introduce the concept of customised bedsheets called ‘Make your own Bedsheets’ on a trial basis wherein, customers can create their own designs and upload it directly on our portal or through stores and get customised bedsheets home delivered.

Future prospects of hometex in domestic & export markets. Your company’s blueprint & plans?

With changing lifestyles of people, future prospects of hometex market look bright with branded players set to gain. Through investments in new franchise model, organisation capabilities, brand image, vibrant new designs, new product portfolios and information technology, Bombay Dyeing expects to grow ahead of the industry and retain its market leadership status.

The international home textiles industry has enjoyed a promising start at the recently-concluded Heimtextil in Frankfurt am Main. The challenging economic situation and uncertainty in the retail sector were countered by a positive and confident mood at the world’s leading trade fair. One topic that occupied both exhibitors and visitors was the current and future economic situation. A further challenge is the increasingly evident changes that are happening in trade.

Bed linen has 35 per cent share in Indian home textiles market. India exported $1.59 billion of bed linen in 2018-19. India’s export to the world is increasing with a CAGR of 3 per cent whereas the imports of home textiles are steady having a negligible share. India exported home textiles worth $4.26 billion in 2018-19.

According to Avinash Mayekar, MD & CEO of Suvin Advisors, “The major reason behind the success of home textile is the modernisation of society. Today, a lot of efforts are been put to make a place lively, it is the feel and vibe that the surrounding gives, which is of upmost importance. In an era of Instagram and Snapchat, where one clicks pictures of each and everything, it highly matters to have beautiful décor with lively colours around. Home textiles have become a style statement and has a status associated with it.”

Adds Mayekar, “The rising disposable income and importance to hygiene has also changed the buying trend of home textile products. These products like the curtains, bed sheets are no longer reused for decades or purchased only during festive periods but are replaced frequently after just three to four washes. The rising attractions towards these products are further driving the business for home textiles.”

“However the top players in India like Trident, Welspun are continuously increasing their capacities to become the largest player of the world irrespective of their capacity consumption. This continuous capacity expansions has resulted in proliferation in home textiles as its happening without the control of the market. The setback of Alok Industries is one such example to it. The situation is an eye opener to other players in Home textiles,” says Mayekar.

“Over the last 20 years, thanks to the phenomenal growth of Indian retailing, increase in purchasing power of Indian customers and growing consumerism, the lifestyle of Indian middle class has transformed. People take pride in giving a trendy look to their homes by picking up the best home textile items. This has resulted in hometex going upmarket”, says Dr Aloke Banerjee, CEO – Retail, The Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing.

Adds Banerjee, “We have many products with special traits such as easy breath comforters, pillows made up of superior Advansa Suprelle fibres, higher GSM Zero twist towels, etc. We also have towels made up of bamboo cotton fibres, which give towel additional anti-bacterial properties of bamboo along with increasing its absorbency.”

Complete package solutions from A.T.E.

A.T.E. can offer a package of machinery right from spinning up to finishing for producing home textiles. A.T.E. is the only company in India at the moment that can offer a complete package solution for processing home textiles.

A.T.E. is a pioneer in the field of weaving preparation, warp knitting, and flooring solutions in the area of home textiles. A.T.E. represents world leaders like Karl Mayer, Truetzschler (Man-Made Fibers), Power-Heat-Set, Zimmer, Xetma Vollenweider, Matthys Group and Luwa offering a complete solution in home textiles.

A.T.E. can offer complete package solutions in home textiles. It has handled many big projects in the home textile segment with the supply of the majority of equipment in such projects. A.T.E. holds a very high market share in home textile segment, as a machinery supplier. Some of the successful projects executed by A.T.E. are Welspun Trident, Himatsingka, Indo Count, Creative, Premier, Alok, Birla Century and many more.

Better sleep through science

Demand for premium mattresses has been growing tremendously and with international markets and awareness of health and hygiene, new niche markets have been multiplying. “Better Sleep Through Science”, proclaims banners of KING KOIL, at a recent exhibition. “We have cornered already 45 per cent of the market for premium mattresses,” says Maneesh Mathur, Vice President (Sales & Marketing), KING KOIL.

KING KOIL is a brand from USA, present in over 100 countries all over the world. At present it is a franchise in India. In India, King Koil has seven manufacturing units, run with some technical help from USA also. This is the only company in India manufacturing 100 per cent pure foam. The foam we use is C-grade one which is not of furniture grade. We are in the premium segment and we are in the manufacture of premium mattresses.

Adds Mathur, “The comfort level is our benchmark.

The comfort level caters to each customer in each category. We have also put up a plant for rebonded mattress. All core materials inside our products are made inside our plants only and nothing comes from outside, and hence we are able to keep a tab on the quality. We have our head office in Noida, where one plant is located with an R&D unit. Some samples and materials for export are also being made there. Our major plant is in Uttrapur in Uttarakhand, which takes care of northern and eastern region. Another plant is located in Bhiwandi, which supplies to western parts of India. One plant in Bengaluru focuses on south India. Recently, we are setting up a plant in Calcutta. The reason for keeping so many locations is that we endeavour to deliver mattresses within 24 to 72 hours of placing the order. Besides, we also give full guarantee of replacement on all our models. We have about 32 distributors all over the country.”

“We are putting technology into comfort and sleep. If the customer devotes just two minutes, an instrument called Sleepid selects scientifically the mattress suitable for him in just 2 minutes. The Sleepid is the result of research of one and a half years and experimented on over 3 lakh people to arrive at the final recommendation, taking into account BMIs and Indian conditions. The Sleepid can even take all the parameters for a couple and decide on the best mattress for them. Mostly, we achieve a success rate in solutions for about 94 per cent of the cases”, added Mathur.

“Common processes for making mattresses in the market are about 6, but the processes, our mattresses go through are about 14, and for some very high premium models, it can go up to 18”, says Mathur.

“Families have more money for hometex”

“This uplift in the demand for premium products is caused by the aspirations and expectations of the younger generation. Families have more money for home textiles and disposable incomes are improving considerably,” admits Dr Geert Bottger, International Sales Director, Expo + Consulting Associates.

Says Bottger: “Housing boom is on and people are ready today to spend more on decorations and furnishing. Home making calls for more integrated styles and functionality. Quality plays an important role and people are aware of the cost and are ready to pay for pleasing designs and satisfying quality in home textiles. Today’s Indian consumers are very much demanding.”

Talking of trends prediction and their future impact in the market demand, Bottger says that the trends that he and his team have launched recently at the HGH show are derived from the global changes and situations. “Though done by European designers, these were arrived at with extensive experiences from India, taking Indian conditions into account. One of the trends launched is called Tribal Safari, which merges the sentiments of tradition with modernity, which is very relevant to India. In home textiles, a fusion of styles is happening and that is what the Indian consumer wants. This opens up the potential for Indian heritage like handicrafts and handlooms. In west, always such kind of works done by people spending human labour is valued much higher, but in India it is always downplayed. We should create more values for products in which human endeavour has taken an upper hand.”

Hometex accounts for 35% Lenzing fibres: Ebru

“Overall, 35 per cent Lenzing’s fibres go into the home textiles market. China, India and Turkey are the major markets for Lenzing, which has been growing well in India, says Ebru Bayramoglu, Head of Global Business Development, Home & Interior Textiles, Lenzing, Austria. “Sustainability is key to the research activities of Lenzing. Our fibres are luxurious and fit home textiles needs. Our products are used more on the premium goods and for premium markets, for which in India we see a good potential. More and more premium brands are using our fibres.”

Says Ebru: “We have already launched a premium product, REFIBRA and then ECOVERA, which is a traceable viscose, bot of which have been largely accepted in the Indian market.” Lenzing’s Indian office in Coimbatore is now supporting Bangladesh and Pakistan. “We have already expanded our team in India,” she added.

Newer players joining the bandwagon

Says Nimish Arora, Managing Director of Dicitex Furnishings, “Modern lifestyles and changing needs do demand a practical approach to home furnishings and textiles. The sense of awareness among the consumers is certainly remarkable and the producers ability to translate, innovate and create has created opportunities for profiting from the growing consumer demand. The new vistas opened for the home textiles, made ups and accessories markets have paved their way to urban consumers enabling them to enjoy the avant-garde version of cherished traditional craftsmanship.”

“Our infrastructure is powered by a state-of-the-art set up consisting of four vertically integrated mills. These are empowered to manufacture 20 million metres of premium quality yarn without a flaw, and in one go. This efficient arsenal is further reinforced by the new addition of a fourth unit sprawling across 30,000 sq m. This facility delivers an exhaustive range of high-luxury furnishings including velvet, Chenille, damasks, embroidered and sheer curtains, dress materials, made-ups and much more,” added Arora.

Another such company who is making rapid strides in the home textile market is North-based Jai Maa Textile. Says Shiv Shankar Rathi of Jai Maa Textile, “Elegant and fashionable, our versatile range of weaves, embroideries and applique offers discerning customers a dazzling spectrum of products to satisfy the most demanding of tastes. With the most innovative product range and the highest standards in quality, GEM Collection aims to provide the latest in interior design.”

He adds, “Apart from a rich collection of home furnishings, our expertise also lies in offering the offered array in customised finish specifications as well. Further, the end products offered by us are also widely reckoned for their impeccable finish, quality workmanship and fabulous designs all blended together.”

Shrinidhi Nadgauda, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, InterMarket (India), says “The home textiles market in India is growing tremendously. I think, in the next 10 years or so, home textile players will focus more on the Indian markets rather than focus more on exports.”

According to me, the home textiles market in India is growing by 100 per cent year-on-year. He adds, “When established, we focus was not on the domestic markets, but for the last three years, our focus has changed, we are focusing on the Indian markets.”

Adds Nadgauda, “When there are big players, then you need to focus more on the niche markets where you can offer flexibility, which is the key driver in the sale of the product. We are a small player. Bigger player will offer quantities in larger numbers, but we offer explosive product range in smaller quantity. That helps in smaller countries where the requirement is small. Big players like Welspun, Trident, etc. cannot cater to these smaller markets. They will focus on countries like the US, UK, etc. There are small retailers, small boutique shops that need service. That’s where we count ourselves.”

“We offer high-end towels, compact sheets and bed linens. Our bed linens are completed engineered ones. It’s completely Made in India. Even the designing, layout, conceptualising, etc. are done in India. The name given to these sheets are compact sheets where we have used high-end spinning technology, which cools the durability of bed linen, when it goes for the industrial laundry,” says Nadgauda.

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