Saint-Gobain’s shower cubicles are designed to deliver a 5-star experience: Hemant Khurana

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on April 26, 2021

Hemant Khurana, Executive Director (Home & Hospitality Business), Saint-Gobain India

They are custom-made for Indian needs, says top official

Bathrooms are assuming greater importance in Indian houses. It is estimated that an average adult spends 30-60 minutes every day in the bathroom, enjoying one shower per day. As the bathing space gains particular significance in house design and decor, Saint-Gobain has invested in creating awareness of its luxurious shower cubicles.

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Unveiling its exclusive My Home Store in Kochi, the second for the brand in the country, Hemant Khurana, Executive Director (Home & Hospitality Business), Saint-Gobain India, said the company is one of the top two brands in the luxury segment of shower cubicle product category, which it achieved in a short period of time. Excerpts from a chat with BusinessLine:

Can you share some insight on the luxury bathroom segment, its growth and projections?

Kerala is witnessing a real-estate boom and innovative home builders are eager to adopt solutions that enhance well-being. The average spend on a home is going up.

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When it comes to the bathroom segment, the State emerges as one of the largest markets for luxury brands. This is because of the patronage of discerning consumers towards luxury brands like Rolls Royce, Ducati, Versace and Mont Blanc, among others.

People’s exposure to luxury brands and their wide travel has made the State one of the highest performing markets for brands. Developments in the real estate sector have also led developers to take up more urban, hospitality and residential space projects.

Saint-Gobain is designed to deliver a 5-star luxury bathing experience. The company's expertise in the building material space will act as a catalyst for real estate players, architects, sanitary-ware channel partners, and end-customers to cater to emerging trends.

With this new product, how do you propose to penetrate the market?

A shower cubicle is an ideal solution for bathrooms as it separates wet and dry areas, thereby providing safety and hygiene in addition to making the bathroom look trendy and modern. Despite these benefits, shower cubicle adoption remains low in India.

Research indicates that shower cubicle category in India has a very low (less than 5 per cent) adoption in homes, as against 5,00,000 homes constructed/renovated every year. This is primarily due to lack of awareness, absence of good quality shower cubicle systems, and a deficient ecosystem to fulfil the shower cubicle requirements of home owners.

This is set to change with the launch of exquisite shower cubicles for the Indian market. Our shower cubicles are custom-made, with designs that can suit bathrooms of varied sizes and shapes. They come with a patented easy-to-clean coating that keeps the glass spotless and scale-free. The hardware fittings are made specifically to avoid being corroded, keeping in mind the high levels of humidity in Indian bathrooms.

How has Covid-19 pandemic impacted the company's business?

Although Covid had an impact on our business like most other companies, we have seen a strong rebound in the last 9-10 months. This is due to excellent demand from the residential segment. As people spend more time at home, new home buying and renovation have seen good traction. The last two quarters have seen our business grow beyond the pre-Covid levels.

How do you plan to go forward in the current pandemic situation?

Covid has brought in its wake a whole new focus on the home. What was once equivalent only to the living space has now assumed new dimensions as a working space as well. Be it for adults working from home, or children engaged in online education, the home has become pivotal to these activities.

As a company, we have always been known for catering to both living and working spaces. We are investing in building the business through homes by introducing new solutions, offering online consultations, opening MyHome stores, a revolutionary new concept where we have brought all Saint-Gobain solutions under one roof.

What is the impact of the pandemic on the real estate and luxury housing market?

Key players found the first four months (April-July) last year challenging but witnessed pace picking up in the following four months. While on one side, commercial projects had taken a back seat, the residential market, on the other hand, was promising. Riding high on the buoyancy, quite a few developers in the real estate space clocked impressive revenues.

Top realty firms have reported record sales bookings despite the pandemic; some have even boasted of achieving their highest ever total sales. The affordable housing projects also did well, and ready-to-move-in properties were preferred more than the under-construction ones.

Some have been aggressively investing in land in the top-tier cities, with plans of luxury housing slated to cover millions of square feet in terms of development potential. What also drew investors back into the market was the temporary reduction in the Maharashtra Government's stamp duty from 5 to 3 per cent. Several HNIs were seen taking advantage of this move, putting the shine back on real estate as an investment haven.

Published on April 26, 2021

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