Interview with Mr. Joydeep Mukherjee, Executive Director & CEO, H&R Johnson
The recent policy changes in the real estate sector has affected the tiles and ceramics industry as well. Realty Plus talks with Mr. Joydeep Mukherjee, Executive Director & CEO, H&R Johnson about the recent developments and trends in the ceramic industry and its way ahead. He also informs about the company’s new products and platforms launched in the market.
After the recent policy changes in real estate sector, what is the way ahead for the tiles and ceramic industry to sustain and prosper?
In the wake of a blitz of reforms and new strong initiatives bought forth by the Government, the market is looking at wide scale changes.
- Housing For All By 2022: The new wave of initiatives introduced by the Government under “Housing for All by 2022” has boosted the affordable housing sector in the country. India is looking to add around 2 crore new affordable houses by 2022, making them an incredible value proposition for big players in the home lifestyle solutions providers.
- Rising Investments in Commercial Spaces: The demand for ceramic tiles, especially floor tiles is expected to grow substantially as a result of rising investments in commercial spaces as well as core projects like airports, hospitals, hotels and construction project investments.
- Rise in Global Urban Population & Standard of Living: The rise in global urban population and standard of living is propelling the demand for high-rise buildings. Thus, the demand coupled by government policies is fueling strong growth in housing sector.
- GST: Under GST, tiles and sanitaryware has been taxed at 18%. Thus, the industry is looking forward to better enforcement and a level playing field under the new tax scenario.
Overall, the future looks bright for the industry, transitional lag aside; steps like GST, E-way bills, demonetization as well as the push towards digital payments are pushing our economy rightfully towards a well governed economy.
What are the global trends and new technologies emerging in tile industry?
The demand for ceramic tiles, especially floor tiles is expected to grow substantially as a result of rising investments in commercial spaces as well as core projects like airports, hospitals, hotels and construction project investments. The growing demand is also bringing with it changing dynamics and new trends.
Talking about the latest trends in India – the natural look of marbles, stones and wood are seeing an increasing preference in ceramics aided by the high resolution printing technology. Another overall trend is to move away from too much of shine. Matt and rustic finishes are in trend. Glazed vitrified category in flooring is emerging fast because of surface enhancement possibilities that it offers. The germ-free tiles or the anti-skid tiles that H&R Johnson has introduced are an added collection in tiles and are much in demand. Along with the look and feel of flooring, consumers today also consider functionality as the key factor while choosing tiles. There is also an increasing trend towards large format tiles and slabs like 120X80, 120X120 and 120X240 cms which provide a more seamless and premium look to the floors.
Nano Technology: At the moment, we have implemented Silver Nano Technology in some of our tiles & sanitaryware products giving them unique anti-bacterial properties which provide superior hygiene and protection from germs.
VR Platforms: When it comes to retail technology, Virtual Reality has started enhancing the in-store experiences. These new age technological mediums not just help is easing the entire process of browsing, selection and buying but also provide a very interesting and interactive experience to the consumers at the store.
What are the new designs of tiles offered by H&R Johnson?
With over 20 sizes, 9 different levels of tile thickness and 15 surface finishes to suit the functional and aesthetics requirement, H&R Johnson provides Johnson tiles under four sub-brands i.e. Johnson Tiles, Johnson Porselano, Johnson Marbonite and Johnson Endura.
Some of the latest products and collections by H&R Johnson have been listed below:
- The new Combi-Décor floor range from Johnson Porselano:
The new range of Porselano Glazed Vitrified floor tiles is designed to break the monotony of regular floors, opening up a world of art beneath your feet. With mesmerising aesthetic patterns available in a wide range with 5 new Combi-Décor themes and a variety of finishes, the Porselano 2016 Combi-Décor range takes floor fashion to a new level.
- Mega Porcelain Slabs range from Johnson Porselano:
There are 5 types of finish in this range – Plazma finish, Glossy Finish, Satin Finish, Matt Finish, Dazzle Finish. Mega Porcelain Slabs (MPS) surfaces are bestowed with Johnson Stain Free property ensuring minimum maintenance and enhanced hygiene. The MPS Slabs of 80 x 120 cm are the best in class in terms of Durability, Functionality and Aesthetics. The large size of 80 x120 cm Slabs also bring the element of nature’s coordinated randomness where one slab is not the exact replica of the other. This variation adds value to the charm and choice. Bigger size Slabs reduce the number of joints and creates seamless, monolithic surface. The PLAZMA finish gives high gloss mirror surface, which enhances the high resolution, true to life stone look of the slabs.
- Porselano 30x60cm Elevation Tiles:
The Elevated Wall Tile Collection is a collection inspired by natural stone, down to the minutest details. Every piece in this collection is an ode to the beauty of natural stone, but what really stands out is the elevation it comes with. It is available in a size of 30x60cm. The Elevation tiles are ideal for both interior and exterior applications like the staircase wall, TV room theme wall or your alcoves.
- Johnson Endura Stepping Stone:
Stepping Stone is a revolutionary range of full body vitrified step tiles that comes ready to install. They come in 8 beautiful salt and pepper shades that completely imbibe and uplift the décor of any building.
- Johnson Endura Clad Care collection:
The Endura Clad Care range is a result of our innovation and comprehensive research and is exceptionally endurable and safe to use. Moreover, the Clad Care range is also aesthetically stunning and provides designers with the option to mix and match to create custom designs.
Tell us about your Virtual Realty platform.
H&R Johnson has recently introduced a state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) platform which will completely transform the browsing, selection & buying process of different product categories when it comes to designing residential and commercial spaces.
As we know, tiles are extremely bulky products, and hence it gets difficult to showcase the entire range at all retail touch points. H&R Johnson’s VR Platform can help the customers visualize a much larger range of products than what they see on actual display in a very realistic looking virtual environment. These photorealistic environments are interactive, as consumers can browse, visualize, customize and change almost everything – right from wall tiles to floor tiles. Due to free movement in VR, consumers can seamlessly walk around virtual spaces and customize almost everything and can visualize both indoor as well as outdoor spaces.
Currently, the Virtual Reality platform has been setup at the 4 new display centers – House of Johnson Experience Centers in Chennai, Coimbatore, Kolkata & Guwahati and will progressively be introduced at more of the brand’s stores.
Is the market for ‘Eco-friendly tiles’ growing in India?
We, at H&R Johnson, are seeing a significant demand for eco-friendly infrastructure and products. Today, the trend is towards sustainable products that are not just aesthetically pleasing but are also eco-friendly. Ceramic flooring has thus gained popularity as it is considered as one of the most sustainable flooring options and is highly durable and maintenance free. It is comprised of natural components and is finished in a variety of colors and options. Ceramic tile floors can last for years if properly installed and serviced. Johnson offers germ free tiles & sanitary ware that reduce the need for use of chemical disinfectants in homes. We also manufacture Cool Roof tiles & Cool Clad tiles that reflect heat from the surface of roofs and terraces and external walls help keep interiors cooler, thereby reducing load on air conditioning units and saving electricity. We also offer some water saving products in our CP fittings and sanitary ware range which have met with good acceptance in the market.
When it comes to green products H&R Johnson leads the way. Our Johnson Engineered Marble and Quartz product range was awarded the UL GREENGUARD & GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This is a very prestigious certification received after passing stringent tests for low chemical emissions to give safe indoor air quality.