India’s financial capital Mumbai is considered as one of the oldest cosmopolitan cities of the country and known for its vastness and modern lifestyle. Diversity of Mumbai’s culture directly reflects on the furniture markets across the city. The furniture available in the markets on the city are of a vast variety including international brands, modern, traditional, Indian, furniture with artefacts, cheap-expensive, second hand, imported and also articles made by local carpenters and artisans.
In the recent years, there has been a drastic change in trends in the furniture industry of Mumbai. During a recent visit, FDT team explored different markets of Mumbai and observed that a major part of the furniture market has shifted to plywood, panel products, engineering wood and other materials instead of natural wood. Substitutes of natural wood like new kinds of panel products and engineering woods have taken the lead and most of the furniture is being made with such materials including MDF, Plywood and Particle Boards etc.
Properties like being lightweight, having different options in grades and thicknesses, smoothness make these wood alternatives sale better in the manufacturing of furniture in the market. These materials are easy in handling and transportation and are of low prices as well. MDF is generally cheaper than plywood, so use of MDF helps to make cost effective furniture. Particle board has even lower cost than other types of engineered woods like MDF or plywood. Majority of plywood is being used in making of beds, kitchens, office work stations etc.
Mr. Mujeeb, Store Manager of ‘Plan it Furniture’ Showroom shared that it’s easy to make furniture with MDF and Plywood. “Most of the furniture in market is made with MDF, Particle boards and Plywood. Hardly 15 to 20 percent shops in Mumbai are selling Wooden, steel and iron made furniture. There are a lot of advantages having furniture with engineering wood. These materials are not only very light weight and cost effective, also help us to make furniture easier and faster, saving lot of time to complete projects. As compare to wooden furniture it save more than 50 percent costing of project”, he said. Mujeeb further noted that customers demand only trendy and light weight customized furniture.
The furniture trend of Mumbai is similar to the trend of other European countries. They believe in changing the life and living style as per the trends and same happens while selecting furniture. A Mumbaikar buys fashionable, more charming, customized and readymade furniture and avoid purchasing heavy wooden furniture. Apartment living, rental houses, lack of space at home and trends are important factors behind the market shift. Moreover, the lack of wood and forest in nearby areas is considered to be the cause behind the less availability of wooden furniture in the market.
Interior designer and owner of a furniture showroom, Mr. Subhan Patni said, “The people of Mumbai replaced their furniture by new readymade ones in last two-three years.” Whereas, in north Indian people purchases the furniture on basis of its longevity so they go for wooden furniture. “Being a trader, we also avoid selling wooden furniture because related government officials ask us about the source of wood. Due to these all, people go for customized and readymade furniture and also avoid buying natural wood furniture”, Mr. Suban added.
Mr. Parwez, Store Manager of Defrun Design Studio said, “There is very less demand of wooden furniture in Mumbai. Only the few of the people who are fond of classical furniture go for wooden. Majority of customers and architects like to buy neoclassical, modern, readymade, customized and imported furniture and avoid to natural wood furniture in Mumbai.