How home retail is growing in the Middle East?
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How home retail is growing in the Middle East?

How home retail is growing in the Middle East?

Home Retailers are always on the look out to evaluate opportunities to expand their footprint and increase their assortment to ensure that they become a one-stop solution for all home retail needs

Home Retail takes centerstage in the Middle East

‘Home is where the heart is’, someone famously said. Home spaces that we create have a direct impact not only on our moods, but on our overall well-being. Our lives revolve around them – something that we can decorate, furnish and redecorate.

Each home has a unique story to share, with thoughtfully selected furnishings that help create that space, bearing equal importance. From earthy colour palettes, bright splashes, vintage wall-hangings, curved sofas and coffee tables to hand-crafted ceramics – sourcing the right furniture and furnishing always adds that special touch to your home. 

According to Research and Markets, the global home decor market size is expected to grow from $610.65bn in 2021 to $662.45bn in 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent. Over the last few years, the home retail category has been positively impacted by more than just generational and economic factors. The market itself has become increasingly accessible to consumers, via additional retailers manifesting online and a greater price range for goods.

 “To remain relevant and successful, we as a brand, constantly evolve and adapt to the changing consumer needs,” says Sameer Jain, CEO of Landmark Groups Home Centre, which operates a network of 125 stores across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and India. 

Key trends

When it comes to trends across the home retail sector, custom-made furniture is the next big factor within the region. Bespoke furnishings not only enhance the uniqueness of a surrounding but also layer the aesthetics with the inhabitant’s own tastes and preferences. 

A majority of retailers are paving the way in the direct-to-consumer custom furniture and decor market. UAE-based Royal Furniture has been offering a diverse portfolio of locally manufactured, customised furniture designs. 

Since its genesis, Royal Furniture has cemented itself in the industry that has delved into classical styles. However, over the last few years, we have evolved with a better understanding of customer input and preferences which is heavily influenced by social media,” says Richard Snowball, general manager at Royal Furniture. 

“Customisation has become pivotal to our adjusted business model as we scour the globe and source furniture and raw materials from more sustainable avenues to appease our customer base, whilst fulfilling our commitment to protect the environment.”

Technology playing a key role

Technology is a key enabler for home retail, as it is for most of the industries across the world. Deployed for experiential purposes to offer added convenience to customers, technology serves multiple purposes. 

Home Centre’s Jain adds,We continuously identify some of the best practices by global retailers in terms of their current digital capabilities, and ensure that we invest in these competencies to build a future-ready organisation. We are also evaluating new technologies such as POS-based marketing solutions, self-checkout and dynamic web-content optimisation, etc.” 

We have integrated multiple technologies across our operations and retail stores. The first is Truview, which enables customers to customise a piece of furniture online and view what the end product. We have also incorporated tech-infused furniture with wireless chargers, speakers, smart lights and USB ports, among other elements. Furthermore, in collaboration with Dubai Audio, we have launched our home theatre system which is completely voice-controlled,” adds Royal Furniture’s Snowball. 

Hyper-customisation and hyper-personalisation for the customer is the way to go, identifies Snowball. “Customer-centric operations and activations are the key to unlocking market potential. Moreover, customer feedback and what you do with it is imperative.”

Technology has also enabled home retailers to target and re-target the right customer based on their preferences and in-cart items. There is no denying that with the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a huge move to shop online, notes Rasool Taj, head of merchandising and buyer at Abu Dhabi-based homewares brand Dwell.

However, home product is still something you want to see and that has really helped us shape what we do in our stores. We have also been actively using data-driven technologies to curate market strategies for our clients in a more efficient way, aiding brand growth,” she adds. 

Over the past couple of years, we have tried to offer a seamless experience from stores to online. Whether that is with product, ranging or price we have treated both platforms the same.” 

Future of home retail

An omni-channel approach is necessary for the future of the retail industry. Being available at every customer touchpoint is imperative, be it online, digital, social media or in-store.  In terms of future plans, Home retailers across the region appear keen to leverage key opportunities to expand their footprint and increase their gamut of offerings, which would improve their bottom lines and ensure brand presence. 

“In the last three years, we have opened close to 10 stores, taking our overall store count to 70. Our e-commerce website and app attract more than 10 million sessions every month.  We have made significant changes in our merchandising and store layouts for ease of shopping for consumers and we will be rolling out these changes to most of our stores in the coming 1-2 years,” adds Jain.  

Brands also believe that the local home retail ecosystem is fairly advanced compared to western markets. Coming from the UK and having lived and worked in Europe, the Far East and now the Middle East, I can honestly say that the choice, style and vision that retailers have here in the home market is far superior than in other countries.  Whether you are new to the country and need to create your very first home,  there are choices for everyone,” states Taj. 

If purchasing a new house is a key milestone, designing it is equally imperative. Choosing the choicest of furnishings gives consumers the opportunity to convert a house into a home, a safe haven that offers a sense of belonging and comfort. Coupled with technology and elevated consumer experiences, the home retail sector is poised for future growth.

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