NEW DELHI: Think at peace.
While Covid-19 paused our lives, it has also brought us closer to our home and families.
As many young and old Indians settle for a work-from-home (WFH) culture, the desire to rebuild shared spaces and isolated rooms within the house compound or design a new home is becoming the best way to settle anxieties.
The good news is that choosing colour palette for the walls, stain-resistant laminates, acrylic and lacquer that can handle strong sanitisers, or low-maintenace tiles for your washroom has just got easier.
India’s top business house, Dalmia Group, is the first to bring country’s first-ever wholesale store for building products, under one roof, called Hippo. Its first outlet was launched in Delhi’s Mayapuri in June this year.
As the name suggests, Hippo is home to a collection of 160-plus brands, spread over a 50,000 square feet area.
To know what Hippo does to make your lives to set up a new home or repair convenient, The New Indian team met Hippo’s operations head and Dalmia Group senior vice president, Benoit Rubin, a French man, at the store itself.
The group says that the objective of bringing up a store like Hippo is to ensure that people stop bothering to look for carpenters, kitchen designers, plumbers and can walk in and out with fancy bricks, array of colours, commodes and so on.
The company says it opened this store in India to help everyone from contractors, architects, interior designers to home-makers and even office executives save time and make an easy selection.
“We opened the store in June 2021. It’s been an amazing experience so far. We are the first in the country to bring everything regarding building material under one roof. So, that’s very specific for India. The feedback of customers, contractors, resellers is positive because stores like Hippo save time as compared to going to different places in such times, one can visit one place,” Rubin told The New Indian.
The sentiment in the real estate industry is already optimistic and has touched an all-time high during July-September after the second wave hit the country, according to a joint report by Knight Frank, FICCI and Naredco.
The report, released last week, says ease in restrictions, improved mobility and mass vaccination drives have been prevalent since the impact of the Covid-19 second wave began to taper off towards the end of June 2021.
“Economic recovery in the past three months has led to an improvement in market sentiments,” the report has said.
“The future sentiment score rose from 56 in Q2 2021 to 72 in Q3 2021, which is the best ever since Q4 2013. Gradual reopening of offices after the tough Covid-19 second wave phase and increased hiring by IT and non-IT sectors has given a lot of confidence to industry stakeholders,” it added.
The report also said that residential real estate segment has recorded strong recovery across cities in the Q3 2021 period, thanks to low home loan interest rates, high demand for home ownership that is translating into high sales volume.
“In Q3 2021, 89% of the survey respondents expect residential sales to increase in the next six months. This is a sharp increase from the 64% respondents who held this opinion in Q2 2021,” it said.
“With regard to residential prices, 66% of the Q3 2021 survey respondents – up from 45% in Q2 2021 – expect prices to increase in the next six months,” it said.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the economy has been on the mend. The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose from 52.3 in August to 53.7 in September 2021. The services PMI continued to expand, despite easing from 56.7 in August to 55.2 in September. PMI is a leading economic indicator that gives a sense of expected manufacturing and services sector growth, going forward.
Private contractors, architects and home buyers echo the same sentiment as stores like Hippo come to push the real estate and infrastructure sector.
“It’s good to see that big flagship companies are jumping into such sectors to boost economy. This will help take care of customers need and encourage them to make houses without running from one store to another, all under one roof. It also helps people like us to get the right material,” said Varun Sharma, proprietor, exterior home solutions firm.
From local brands like Somany to Merino to Durian, Greenlam to Shalimar to JK Lakshmi to Shree Cement to international brands like Bosch to Hettich, Kajaria to Philips to Kohler to Roca, lighting equipments, Hippo store has a lot to suit the palette of every customer and range.
According to Rubin, Hippo is best suited to handle both B2B and B2C clients unlike Europe and other markets.
“We get people from all sections of society — affluent to middle class to contractors and top class architects. We offer such a wide range with premium quality of International and national brands and discounts are a value addition,” he said, adding, “We, at Hippo, also put a digital QR code on each of its product to help customers know the year of make, components used in the manufacture.”
Now, that’s something for transparency and ease!
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