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Heighten Engagement, Transparency During Crisis: Karan Kumar, DLF

Engage honestly & more frequently, without any fabricated standard responses in a crisis situation, he suggests

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Currently, a $200-billion market, India’s real estate sector is gradually breaking the shackles posed by the pandemic and emerging victor in full force. In fact, it is already on its road to becoming a $1 trillion industry by 2030, project the industry experts.

The pandemic certainly catalysed disruptive changes in the sector, begetting some irreversible trends and behaviours. From changed home buying patterns to people no longer gravitating exclusively towards IT hubs in the metro to the proximity of the workplace no longer being a big question, the past year introduced paradigm shifts for everyone associated with this industry.

Giving us a sense of the pandemic’s impact on the real estate industry, especially how consumers have responded to it, Karan Kumar, Chief Marketing Officer, DLF asserts, “Whenever there is a seismic change, where there is a lot of uncertainty involved. There is a lot of mistrust and a sense of apprehension. People invariably gravitate in their choices, across sectors and across categories, towards brands that they can trust towards brands that hold a certain meaning in their lives.”

On Consumer's Choosing Loyalty & Credibility

While we agree that consumers generally shift towards or are inclined towards a more trusted brand, it was very recently found in a study that consumer loyalty dwindled post the pandemic, and they're now more open to experimentation. Explaining how marketers can regain the lost trust and loyalty, Kumar says, “Experimentation and flirting with new brands has always been the norm. And people like to experiment with and flirt every once in a while.

However, it's not the same across all industries and all sectors and all categories. And it is especially dependent on whether your ticket value is low enough to experiment, and to take a chance on a bad deal, or is high enough for you to not want to experiment and not expose yourself to a risk of a bad deal.”

He goes on to add, “During big purchase decisions, consumers invariably bank on something that has the legacy and the credibility of delivery. And to that extent, I think the way we've seen it played out for ourselves, our new sales bookings last year, the number was roughly 3000 crores, it was a 24% year on your growth. 

For the current financial year, again, another 30% kind of growth on that number, and we're looking at an average of 1000 crore a quarter,4000 crore for the year.”

On The Growing Role Of Proptech

Evidently, there is a change in the way real estate is working, even campaigns of the government are making access to technology easier and more realistic. Speaking on how technology is revolutionizing the real estate industry, Kumar shares, “Technology is coming in and making it more efficient on tasks which are not repetitive. It is helping multi-level scenario building and option development. So, whether you look at it from an architecture point of view or a design point of view or an execution point of view, you have a much greater interplay of technology today, visible to everyone across sectors, with or without the pandemic. Honestly, that aspect has not really been impacted by the pandemic. 

But there is a whole lot of technology infusion and real estate as well, from every stage of planning to every stage of execution. A whole lot of technology is lending itself in the form of software applications, as well as also in the form of technical inputs that go towards automating various processes. And each sector will have its own ways of how they utilize it. Real estate is certainly utilizing it in a very, very effective manner as a sector itself.”

On The Emanating Trends

Further mentioning some shifts that have transpired due to the pandemic, Kumar agrees that people now want a slightly bigger & flexible space. They are exploring to move away from the city life, into slightly less chaotic places. “The concept of an alternate home is emerging. There was a time when this alternate was seen as a luxury. However, now it has become a requirement, it's become a reality, to some set of people who can afford one, obviously. Last but not the least, everybody who could afford wants his own roof on top of his head. This sentiment is cutting across geographies, markets & segments."

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