In an age where virtually anything can be bought and sold online, it is no wonder that the online furniture sales business is booming. Furniture as an online commodity has a certain specific set of problems – firstly, it is difficult to have a warehouse full of pre-made furniture items, as opposed to easy to produce objects like books. Secondly, the consumer had to get over the initial inertia associated with buying furniture off the internet. Thirdly, furniture has generally been seen as an object with a large shelf life, i.e., the cycle of replacement of furniture did not leave scope for quick online transactions.
In the past few years, most of these problems have been tackled. The online consumer has become desensitised of their notion of apprehensiveness towards making a big online transaction. As a result, not just furniture but items like second-hand cars are also making a mark on the online retail market.
Currently, the Indian online retail market is slated to gross around $15 billion. Approximately 4% of this figure is attributed to the home decor and furnishing category. The domestic products and home furnishing market, on the other hand is estimated to be at around $32 billion. Technavio’s analysts forecast the online home décor market in India to grow at a CAGR of 50.42% in revenue over the period 2014-2019. These are no small numbers.
In a situation like this, a few key players have already emerged in the Indian context of the online furniture market. Here is a review of our top 5 picks, in no particular order.
Pepperfry was founded by two eBay ex-employees – Ambareesh Murty and Aashish Shah. Founded in 2012, it is one of the leading players in the home and decor market of India. The company headquarters are in Mumbai. As of now, Pepperfry boasts of approximately 6,50,000 listings of products on its web portal, making it one of the biggest online stores in India dedicated to home decor and furnishing.
The parent company for Pepperfry is Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt. Ltd. In 2014, Pepperfry opened a round for investments, which was responded to by Bertelsmann India Investments along with their existing investor Norwest Venture Partners, to raise $15 million in funds. In 2015, Pepperfry raised $100 million worth investments from Goldman Sachs alone. One of the reasons for Pepperfry’s success is it gauged the Indian consumer mentality quite accurately. As a result, it offers free shipping on all products, the services of carpenters to assemble/customize products in major cities and a 30-day products return policy.
FabFurnish was founded in 2012 by the trio of Mehul Agarwal, Vaibhav Aggarwal and Vikram Chopra. Apart from being one of the most mature players in the Indian online home furnishing market, FabFurnish is also one of the most important ones. FabFurnish is backed by the German Incubator Rocket Internet, which has a history of investment in e-commerce projects across the globe. As an online retailer, the company offers about 80,000 products. Since December 2012, FabFurnish has also entered the physical market as a franchise by opening three stores in Gurgaon, Bangalore and Faridabad respectively. FabFurnish also demos, and accurate package tracking.
UrbanLadder is a Bengaluru based home decor and furnishing company started by Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa in July 2012. It boasts of listing over 1000 products spread across 25 categories, and is slated to cover around 25 to 30 cities, including the tier 1 and 2 markets by 2016.
Earlier in 2015, UrbanLadder got a pump of $50 million through a series C investment by Sequoia Capital. Apart from that, UrbanLadder is supported by TR Capital, Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital and SAIF Partners. Not just that, in November 2014, Ratan Tata made a personal investment into the company. The company aims to upgrade technology, expand geographically and increase its product strength through the acquired capital, making it one of the major players in the market today.
LivSpace is a 2012 startup founded by Anuj Srivastava, Shagufta Anurag and Ramakant Sharma. Anuj and Ramakant are alumni from IIT Kanpur. Anurag is a former Google employee, while Ramakant was a VP at Myntra.com. Shagufta, on the other hand, is an architect and an entrepreneur. Each of the co-founders comes from unique backgrounds related to technology, e-commerce, architecture and design. As a result, LivSpace exhibits a holistic approach towards the online home decor industry through this mix. The Bangalore-based company raised $4.6 million during their series A funding in 2014 and $8 million during the series B funding round earlier this year. Main investors in this company are Helion, Bessemer and Jungle Ventures.
Although RoomStory was founded in 2012, it has witnessed a more measured growth as compared to it peers. It is an online, multi-brand home store with emphasis on three product categories, namely, Decors & Accents, Kitchen & Dining and Bed & Bath. While it is planning to expand into other product categories, it is also vying at tier 2 to 4 cities as potential marketplaces. RoomStory was founded by Prerak Sethi and Nipun Virmani, both graduates from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Apart from these, there are many other players in the online furniture industry of India. Those worthy of a mention include Housefull, Zansaar, Nestopia and Furlenco. If you have any doubts or queries regarding the furniture industry in India or e-commerce in general, don’t hesitate to write to Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!
Browntape helps retailers sell online on multiple marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. in India. They provide services and software that allow retailers to either outsource their online selling business or manage things on their own using their innovative inventory and order management software. In addition to that, they also help sellers improve their customer experience.
Source: Browntape Blog