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Tech-enabled solutions dominate real estate, as sector looks for strong comeback

The real estate industry is one of the most severely hit industries due to the COVID-19, along with the movie theatre business, the travel and hospitality industry and the dining out business. The real estate sentiment index score dropped from 57 in Q1 2021 to 35 in Q2 2021. However, the drop is less intense than what it was during the first COVID-19 wave (Q2 2020), when the score had hit an all-time low of 22, as per the 29th Edition of Knight Frank-FICCI-NAREDCO Real Estate Sentiment Index Q2 2021 (April-June 2021) Survey.

"We do need to go back to the drawing board and maybe change some of our floor plans and layouts to accommodate more flexible and open spaces"

-Anjana Sastri, Director - Marketing, Sterling Developers, Bangalore

Speaking about the Real Estate industry’s revival as India returns to normalcy, Anjana Sastri, Director - Marketing, Sterling Developers, Bangalore, said, “As an industry, we were able to learn a lot from the first wave, and were able to improvise and implement our learnings during the second wave. There is a positive outlook for the industry as people are making the decision to buy homes with the trend of work from home and the understanding that your home is the safest place to be. As an industry, we do need to go back to the drawing board and maybe change some of our floor plans and layouts to accommodate more flexible and open spaces. Most residential projects today do offer a host of amenities and that is also something that will be highly valued.”

In the current scenario, there is a greater shift to technology to keep the business running. From AI, video walk-throughs, AR, VR/3D-enabled site visits, chatbot-assisted inquiries and research, online bookings to digital transactions – tech-enabled solutions continue to dominate the real estate industry.

According to a TAM AdEx Report, Ad space for E-Com Real Estates in print during Jan-May’21 rose by more than 2.5x compared to Jan-May’20, as per TAM AdEx data. Meanwhile, Digital ad insertions rose by 6% during this period over Jan-May’20. On the other hand, E-Com Real Estates ad volumes on Radio dramatically dropped by 93% in Jan-May’21, while E-Com Real Estates ad volumes remained unchanged on Television.

Additionally, social media platforms, mainly, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram replaced traditional mediums like newspaper advertisements and billboards as effective marketing platforms. Social media has witnessed a greater share as an effective marketing tool and is poised to grow further.

"With greater digitalisation by real estate companies, there is greater acceptance of the brand in the present circumstances."

-Lindsay Bernard Rodrigues, Co-Founder and Director, Bennet & Bernard Group

Lindsay Bernard Rodrigues, Co-Founder and Director, Bennet & Bernard Group, noted, “Creating an immersive digital experience will continue to remain essential even once the pandemic passes, as consumers are less likely to prefer analogue ways. With greater digitalisation by real estate companies, there is greater acceptance of the brand in the present circumstances. Once customers are satisfied by the online experience they have with a company, they appreciate the brand, which in turn strengthens the brand and lends it greater depth.”

There has always been a split in views about the importance of print media and digital media for the real estate industry. Some are of the opinion that digital media is a stronger platform for distribution of news – it’s cheaper, quicker and has a greater reach than print, while others are of the opinion that print media is stronger when it comes to the creation of news content, it is where the majority of news stories are originated, researched and written. According to the TAM AdEx report, the digital medium, ad insertions increased by 93% during Jan-May’21, compared to the same period in Y2020, and the print ad space for Properties/ Real Estates during Jan-May’21 grew by 42%, compared to Jan-May’20.

"The attention span on social media is very less, and the recall value is not really created"

-Rajesh Pandey, Project Head, Aadharshila

Rajesh Pandey, Project Head, Aadharshila, remarked, “At this point in time, while people are sitting at home, they tend to end up spending most of their time on digital media, therefore, you keep on getting the eyeballs. But there is a saturation point when one keeps on looking at the screen. The attention span on social media is very less, and the recall value is not really created. Whereas, in print medium, a recall value is created in a more effective manner as compared to the digital medium. People have started realising that there is a challenge if you are on the screen for everything; reading a newspaper gives them a break from the screen. So, one really has to strategise and decide between the different mediums.”

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