Edgebands have come a long way in the Indian furniture components market. Today, it is seen as an important ingredient in an aesthetical piece of modern furniture. REHAU’s quintessential RAUKANTEX edgebands have been at the center stage of edgebands market in India. BuildingandInteriors.com met up with Mr. Manish Arora, Vice President- Furniture Solutions, REHAU India, on the brand’s perspective on the Indian market.
REHAU’S edgebands RAUKANTEX – The early days in India!
The edgebands have undergone a sea-change over the last 2 decades. I joined REHAU in 2004 and have seen this transformation myself. REHAU has been in India since 1997. Back then, the edgebands were simply seen as a material to be put on the sides of a board or ply. In fact, many carpenters used the same laminate (that they put on top) to do the job. So, you can say that edgebands were competing with laminates – and today the market acknowledges that edgebands and laminates complement each other!
The Indian furniture market and REHAU edgebands
Today, in the edgebanding segment, REHAU’s RAUKANTEX has a market share of close to 44%. Until 2001, we used to import edgebands from Germany. This was the year when we put out the first production line for edge bands.
At REHAU, we are quite satisfied with the way we have read and lead the market in India. We have stayed ahead of the demand curve and brought in products and technologies that have played a vital role in taking the Indian furniture market to the next level. When we started the local production line, the customers got a variety of options to choose from. We offered an unparalleled range of edgebands – in colours, finishes, and qualities. This expansion continues to the day.
The furniture market in India is graduating to the level where there is a realization that the edgebands are not only a solution to ‘conceal the edges’ of substrates like MDF, plyboard, etc., but also performs the functional solution of preventing moisture from going inside the substrate. This has been one of the greatest achievements that we, at REHAU, feel contended with.
On the peculiarity side, the Indian furniture market is still focused on ply. REHAU recognized this trend in India and we manufacture edgebands that are very compatible, even with ply.
Information dissemination in the Indian furniture market
Over the last 20 years, REHAU has played a major role in educating the market. Right from the days when REHAU had to build awareness on the practicalities of using edgebands, we have given ourselves the task of giving the right set of information to the evolving furniture market in India.
It is constant learning for both REHAU and our customers in India. They also look at us with an expectation to better their furniture business – be it the manufacturers or the distributors and dealers. Many a time, given the way we treat our product category, our audience has become our customers even while our primary focus (at that moment) has been just to educate them. This is a joyous feeling for us!
Typical challenges and opportunities in the edgeband market
We are living in a very globalized world. When people go to the internet and see products that appeal to them, they want to have these products in their homes. Aesthetics assume a paramount position. And finishing plays a key role in enhancing the aesthetics of a product. Nothing could be closer to this tenet than for a piece of furniture. Here, REHAU’S RAUKANTEX edgebands fit the bill perfectly.
Thus, as the demand for quality furniture increases, so does quality furniture solutions like RAUKANTEX.
Additionally, in the recent 5-6 years, the opportunities in the local furniture market have increased significantly. Even the carpenters are shifting from the laminates to the edge bands now.
As I said, REHAU has done all the hard work in opening the Indian market for edgebands. We invested our resources in educating, developing, and growing this market. And once you attain the position of the market leadership, any new entrant becomes a challenge for you. But, as we keep innovating, our market continues to grow. REHAU’s technical prowess coupled with the philosophy of educating the market in the latest solutions will keep propelling us.
Architects & interior designers – The REHAU connect
Architects and interior designers are becoming more and more relevant in the Indian market. The pandemic exposed a vast majority of the population to a desire to ‘live a better life’. This is translating itself into people spending on home improvement. Architects and interior designers are becoming the default consultants in such projects, across income groups.
REHAU is aware of such changes. Architects and interior designers have always been part of our business ecosystem. We have dedicated teams that look after their requirements. Our solutions enhance the functionality and aesthetics of the solutions they design. We work with them on both big and small projects.
REHAU’s increasing solutions range – Catching the fancy of architects and interior designers
Over the last 5-7 years, REHAU has launched many more innovative solutions. These are different product lines than edgebands. So along with edge bands, we have the following:
- acrylic surface solutions
- high-end boards
- countertop solutions
- flooring solutions
- furniture solutions, and more.
In addition, we have tied up and launched a few products that make the life of the architect easy. These products are locally available and offer a wide range of products. So, this helps in building a connection with the architects.
REHAU – Going aggressive on India
As of date, we have a network of more than 300+ direct dealers and around 2000+ retail touchpoints in India. We are now going for major penetration into the existing Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. Next in line are the Tier-3 and Tier-4 cities. This is being done by increasing our people’s resources in such places. Servicing the expanding distribution network will be one of the top priorities.
We believe that the market is ready for the quality solutions that REHAU offers. The desire to ‘living a better life’ is equally pronounced in smaller towns and cities across India. Once again, REHAU is ready to expand its market size in India. And being the market leader, we are confident of taking the lion’s share in this quest.