Indian furniture market for Herman Miller is booming: Jeremy Hocking

Hocking, President - Herman Miller, lets us in on the company's expansion plans, foray into the digital market and its marketing strategies

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: Jan 17, 2020 8:34 AM
Jeremy Hocking

Herman Miller, the globally-recognised provider of furnishings and related services, launched its Atlas Office Landscape workstation and Cosm chair in India on Thursday.

The furniture company, which commenced its Indian operations in 2005, inaugurated its production facility at Bidadi in October 2015 to specifically serve India and neighbouring markets. It has witnessed a growth of 83 per cent in FY18-19 and is set to achieve a 100 per cent growth in FY19-20.

Herman Miller’s Indian plant now serves more than 70 per cent of the local demand. The company also plans to expand in the retail market with a focus on appointing channel partners in tier-II cities. It has already opened an online store and has listed a few products on Amazon and Flipkart to cater to the digital market.

In a quick chat with exchange4media, Jeremy Hocking, President - Herman Miller International, spoke about the brand’s plan for India, their hopes for the Indian market, their marketing strategies and growth target.

Speaking on the Indian furniture market and Herman Miller's plans for the country, Hocking said, "The Indian furniture market for Herman Miller is booming. There are two factors that are driving this, the economy, in general, is healthy and that is leading to the growth of local companies and then international companies are still piling in and continuing to invest in India.  Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos has pledged to invest $1 Billion in India, that's a great example. So both local Indian companies and international companies are investing.

“The second reason is there's a growing awareness about the importance of creating a great workplace for users. Because with these new jobs, young people have a choice in picking whom to work for. One way they make that choice, in our experience, is by the kind of office quality the company is providing.”

Hocking asserted that it’s foolish for companies to skimp on quality furniture. “It’s a false economy to save money on the cheapest and least ergonomic furniture. It just doesn't make sense because you probably want to attract the best people to work for your company. There’s a growing sense of placing importance on quality workplaces.”

Hocking believed the furniture brand’s growth in the Indian market is glowing with possibilities. “I honestly think that we are, growing fast, but we are still only scratching the surface. We are very lucky to have a fantastic dealer distribution. So we've got local furniture dealers that can serve clients in every Indian city. I think we can continue to grow through those dealers who find business opportunities for us.”

He also revealed that Herman Miller’s manufacturing units are quite robust and a need to expand is in the offing. And I could see us needing to expand that quite soon. “I think the outlook is positive. It's been interesting for me to read the press, about the economy slowing, but that's not our experience at the moment,” he pointed out.  

Hocking shed light on the company’s marketing strategies and explained that print advertising was never a mainstay. “We're always interested in opportunities to expose the brand. For example, in exhibitions at design shows, to do product launches etc and a share of our spending goes on Digital medium,” he added.

Speaking on the growth targets he said, “With our collection of leading brands, a global multi-channel distribution capability and a clear set of strategic priorities, we remain well-positioned to drive sustainable long-term growth. Herman Miller will grow by more than 30 per cent this year.”

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