E-commerce: Move over electronics, apparel; luxury homes now flying off shelves

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Updated: February 13, 2015 10:32:02 AM

India’s e-commerce boom is for real. Need proof? Three customers just bought luxury villas worth...

remittance, remittance limit, remittance limit for nri, remittance basis exempt property, liberalised remittance scheme, property buying sites, property buying tips, Reserve Bank of IndiaThree customers just bought luxury villas worth Rs 10 crore online. (File photo)

India’s e-commerce boom is for real. Need proof? Three customers just bought luxury villas worth Rs 10 crore online. Kolte-Patil Developers has just sold three such super-luxury properties online with help from a digital marketing startup, Amura Marketing Technologies. Two of these buyers were NRIs and one was from Pune, where the 7K project at Kalyani Nagar is located. It is not a ready-to-move-in property and will come up for delivery around the end of next year — buyers haven’t even visited the site. In fact, many more people have been lapping up Rs 2-crore homes.

Kolte-Patil sold 250 units online, worth Rs 150 crore, during a three-day Nest Fest home buying festival that included a digital as well on-the-ground sale of its properties. None of it is ready stock, but projects that are two years from delivery.

Kolte-Patil Developers CEO Sujay Kalele said he had expected online sales in the under-Rs-50 lakh segment, but he was surprised to see a better response at the premium end, especially the Rs 70-lakh-upwards category.

The company had put up for sale 13 projects in the Rs 30 lakh-to-10 crore range in the Nest Fest. Around 30,000 people visited their exhibition site in Pune while the online channel saw 15 lakh people visit the site every day.

“We received booking from 25 cities across 80 countries which shows that a typical real estate customer is moving from the conventional physical to online and the market is slowly but surely moving to the digital space,” Kalele said.

The 360-degree campaign resulted in combined online and on-the-ground sales of 1,150 units covering 1.25 million square feet worth Rs 750 crore. These customers have paid the booking amount. Three years ago, Kolte-Patil had offered online sales but managed a mere 10 units. This time around, they have got 305 bookings. The company has assumed a 15% cancellation rate and announced 250 bookings, of which 75 are by NRIs. Kalele says the sales spurt will fast-track their projects.

Tata Housing Development Company has already tasted success in online home sales. Brotin Banerjee, MD and CEO, Tata Housing Developing Company, says it pioneered the concept of online home buying in India, along with Google’s GOSF in December 2013. It sold over 50 units between the affordable and luxury segments.

“The launch of our in-house e-commerce portal has resulted in sales of over 1,000 apartments translating into over a million square feet till date. With our flagship online property National Home Buying Week, we aim to sell 2,000 units across 25 properties in eight cities between February 11 and February 18, 2015. We are especially encouraged because the inaugural edition in 2014 was subscribed 4 times with over 800 applications for the allotted 200 units across five projects,” Banerjee said.

Tata Housing has also put its premium inventory into the basket, with houses on offer in the Rs 12 lakh-12 crore range at the ongoing National Home Buying Week. The company has also opened exclusively online bookings for its two projects in Mumbai and Kolkata. If Kolte-Patil Developers’ experience is anything to go buy, Tata Housing will also be able to notch higher sales in the premium end.

Vikram Kotnis, MD, Amura Marketing Technologies, has developed a product for real estate developers called ‘Sell.Do’, a real estate data management and campaign execution platform. Kotnis says it won’t be long before the real estate market sees ‘digital only’ launches, and this is likely to a game- changer for the industry. The reach is phenomenal at one- fourth the cost, says Kotnis. Amura has 50 developers across India such as Shapoorji Pallonji, Sobha Developers, Oberoi Realty, Panchshil Developers, K Raheja and Xrbia of Pune. The company, which handles 2,500 enquiries a day on its platform, claims to have enabled Rs 4,000-crore worth real estate.

Banerjee says his company saw a tremendous opportunity in the online space as the real estate industry has witnessed a sea demographic change in the past few years. The adoption of the online platform by the modern-day consumer has added a new sales channel and led to wider reach, add Banerjee.

Kolte-Patil’s Kalele is now testing whether online sales can reach Tier-II and Tier-III markets. So, the company has decided to go mobile and extend the NestFest sale further. On February 18, Kolte-Patil will organise a Mega Midnight Mobile App fest with an app for brokers and another for customers.

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