India’s commercial leasing is once again climbing. Major enterprises such as Google, Samsung India, ABB, Veritas, etc. have picked up big-ticket deals in recent months. Most of the IT and technology companies are expanding, driven by their long-term growth potential.
Companies and bigger enterprises are also implementing back-to-office programs backed by plummeting COVID cases and a nationwide successful vaccine program. Until the fear of the 3rd wave comes in, we can now safely say that India’s commercial real estate is on a path of an upswing after facing muted demand during the pandemic months.
However, it is also essential to understand that to succeed in the new normal, or rather the new reality, one has to understand a key but often overlooked force – the millennial. India is a young nation with a median age of around 28 years. Roughly 65% of the Indian population is aged below 35. A majority of the bread earners nowadays comprise the millennials and their sheer volume also bears out that they will play a crucial role in defining the future of commercial leasing in India. In the foreseeable future, the choices and values of millennials will also be reflected in the commercial real estate in India.
Value-added services (VaS): The modern office would not just be about office desks and meeting rooms. It should have value-added amenities such as gyms, play areas, open spaces, gaming zones, which can ensure a good time at the office. Likewise, the cubicle culture might not be very popular. Rather the future would be about soft furnishing, which can be tweaked as preferred.
Eco-friendly smart offices: Millennials are increasingly opening to the idea of eco-friendly offices that can optimize energy and water consumption, reduce the overall carbon footprint and foster sustainable living in the longer run.
Going forward, developers need to focus on green and sustainable technologies & innovation. This should include increased usage of water recycling methodologies, recycled construction materials, smarter devices, smart metering technologies, ample use of ventilation and sunlight.
Experiential Retail: The time for experiential retail has finally come to India. While creating the new-age retail, it is also important to recreate and reimagine retail with the aid of personalization, localization, and seamless integration of technology with retail offerings. These are no more just marketing fads but the reality of the present times.
Footfalls in malls and the high street retail outlets is bound to rise. However, buyers would not open their wallets to purchase. They need meaningful engagement and experience. New retail will need a lot of resting areas, ventilation, and natural lighting. Similarly, it will require ample facility to test products and items (a key differentiator for physical stores and they need to leverage it smartly).
The Rise of Suburbia: Indian metros are also catching up with the idea of the suburbia, wherein the cities are developing in the outskirts of the city. Called suburbs or suburbia, many millennial households are shifting to these places to avoid traffic and congested living in the city centers. Affordable property prices are also driving the uptrend. These upcoming corridors are also attracting new offices, co-working spaces, malls, and high streets to manage the evolving demand.
(By Ankit Kansal, Founder & MD, 360 Realtors)