News Point: In the fifth edition of Track2Realy Brand X Report 2016-17, Sobha makes a hattrick of brand leadership. Godrej Properties is only developer to be in top 10 across the nation while Puravankara emerges as brand performer of the year, scaling up from 9th position to fourth position this year.
In the fifth edition of rating and ranking the brand performance of the Indian real estate companies in the fiscal year 2016-17, developers like Sobha, Godrej, Puravankara, Embassy and Brigade have managed to improve their brand reputation in a challenging market environment. In a fiscal year where the sales figure might suggest a market crash, these brands have improved and consolidated their positioning.
Sobha steals the show this time around as the developer becomes the first real estate company in the country to make a hattrick of brand leadership. Prior to Sobha, only DLF could manage to be at the top of brand leadership for two consecutive years in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
In terms of the satisfaction index of the homebuyers also, Sobha continues to stand at the top followed by Godrej Properties and Puravankara. In a first of its kind global survey among the NRI buyers also, Sobha has been voted as best developer in top of the mind recall value. The NRIs also voted Godrej Proeprties and Puravankara as the second and third best developer to deal with.
The performer of the year is Bangalore-based Puravankara Ltd that has taken a giant leap from being 9th most admired national real estate brand to now 4th best developer across India. Puravankara also stands out as the 3rd best brand in South India. As a matter of fact, it has been rated ahead of some of the larger names like Godrej Properties, DLF and the Oberoi on certain defined metrics.
Nationally, the South Indian developers continue to top the brand leadership chart. Out of the top 10 national brands, 5 are from the South Indian market.
Godrej Properties in the only developer to be in the top 10 in all the four regions. However, the brand equity of another coroporate entity Tata Housing has taken a severe beating amidst plethora of consumer grievances and social media trial. The most striking brand upheaval has been noticed in North India where the slowdown, regulatory challenges and buyers’ grievances have taken a toll on the market leader DLF.
For the first time DLF shares the number one position in their home turf with a relatively smaller developer by market size, ATS. As a matter of fact, ATS sharing the number one position with DLF is the biggest news story in this part of thew world.
In North India, the customer-centricity elevates two developers, Gulshan Homz and Prateek Group, into the elite league of brand leadership for the first time this fiscal year. Mahagun continues to improve its brand positioning while another large size developer, Supertech, continues to lose its brand equity. SARE Homes also loses its brand leadership position in a significant manner.
In West India also, two new developers make their way into the top 10 list – Rustomjee and Kanakia Spaces. Godrej Properties stands at the top of the brand leadership, while Oberoi realty despite of its limited inventory stands close to Godrej at number 2. Lodha Group, with impressive sales figure that no other developer can match, loses its brand equity due to poor customer satisfaction index. Two strong entities, Mahindra Lifespaces and Kalapataru, could not retain their place in the brand leadership of the region this time around.
Two new entrants make their way into South India real estate as well with Salarpuria Sattva and Century India appearing into the list of top 10 brands for the first time. The most notable brand loser in the region has been Nitesh Estates that goes out of the list of the top 10 branded developers. Their poor consumer connect and increasing number of consumer grievances make them a case study in a brand’s fall from the grace. Tata Housing also loses its brand equity, like its brand loss at the national level, and drops out of the list of top 10 in the region.
No major brand upheaval has been noticed in the Eastern India. As a matter of fact, it continues to be the least brand conscious region. Overall, it has been challenging fiscal year for most of the developers across the country and the East zone is no different.
There has been no new entry into the list of top 10 residential brands. However, many of the emerging brands are knocking the doors hard and the challenging market environment is also putting pressures on the exisitng top brands. Some of these brands are facing the challenges of execution volume as well.
In office space segment, the market leader for the last four years, DLF, for the first times slips down to 5th position and Embassy Group becomes the top brand. Bangalore-based Salarpuria Sattva also makes entry into the top 10 brands in the segment for the first time.
Retail space has been the only segment where DLF could retain its leadership position, despite of losing its overall brand equity. The most giant leap nevertheless has been for the Phoenix Market City that has emerged as a serious challenger in the segment. The chain of malls has maintained decent performance across the country, both in terms of footfall, transactions and the satisfaction index of the visitors. Raheja Corp has also improved its performance in the segment.
Hospitality segment that has been long neglected due to the developers’ not seeing it as a profitable venture from ROI perspective has suddenly got more competitive. The sector seems to have woken up to the reality that the hotels in general and serviced apartments in particular can be a profitable proposition. It is also proving to be the brand drivers for the developers like Brigade, Embassy and Oberoi Realty. Eros Group also makes it to the top 10 list for the first time in the segment.
In super luxury segment, two of the corporate conglomerates – Godrej Properties and Tata Housing – make their entry into the top 10 brands. The surprise pack nevertheless has been Mumbai-based Rustomjee that got featured into the privileged brand list for the first time. Two other Mumbai-based developers – Sunteck Realty and Ahuja Group – got exited from the admired list of super luxury brands. Bangalore-based Sobha Ltd retains its leadership position but the brand performer in terms of making a giant leap has been Mumbai-based K Raheja Corp.
It has been a pretty flat year for the redevelopment space and no major brand differentiation was noticed. As a matter of fact, the nature of business is increasingly getting more challenging for the developers to use the segment as a brand dtiver. Only Omkar Realtors & Developers and Rustomjee could improve their brand positioning in the space during this fiscal.
In home finance segment, the focus of consumers is yet again shifting towards the PSU banks and SBI and PNB are the brand performers of the year. PNB Housing Finance, as a matter of fact, makes an impressive debut this time around. HDFC and Indiabulls nevertheless continue to hold the top two positions of brand leadership. GRUHA Housing Finance also makes it to the brand leadership chart. Tata Capital and HUDCO make exit from the elite list of top brands in the segment.
This year for the first time the study also looked into the senior housing segment from the perspective of brand driver for the developers. There is enough scope in this neglected sector and research suggests it can indeed be a brand differentiator for the developer.
The study also picked up some emerging brands that may not be otherwise into the top 10 in their given geographical region. These companies nevertheless are impressive in thier own right and are quite promising as the future brands. Some of them are, as a matter of fact, setting better examples of brand management than many of the larger developers. Their promising foray apart, they are still underdogs due to the sheer small size and limited inventory and/or geographical footprint.