India has emerged as one of the most important markets for elevators and escalators in the world. Urbanisation has been the key factor in increasing demand for the high rise buildings. As it continues to expand, the need for housing and commercial space grows, India’s elevator industry will continue to grow just as rapidly. A closer look clearly tells that over the years, India has witnessed a steady growth in the real estate and infrastructure space. In fact, elevator industry expects stronger growth rate in the years to come against the backdrop of ‘housing for all’. Keeping this in mind, elevator players in India are gearing up by adopting innovative methods (design, service, adopting newer technology etc) to tap the market. Says Sebi Joseph, President, Otis India, “Otis is poised to cater to this demand. We can also expect the next developments in elevator technology to be digitalisation and the focus should be on passenger experience.”
Another shift that is taking place in the industry is the focus and attention on aesthetics. The modern Indian customer is now paying more attention than ever to elevators. “Apart from the focus on energy savings, technology, safety and other critical features, the customer is now looking to create an interesting and engaging space within an elevator. They are looking for softer edges, etchings, patterns, unusual colours, materials and textures. In short, they are looking to add personality to their elevator space,” points out Joseph.
Interestingly, the demand for elevators (used in home) is just not restricting to metro cities only even the demand is healthy from smaller cities and towns. This is definitely an important development for the entire sector. “Urbanisation is already knocking at the doors of tier 2 cities. The requirements we are getting now are not just from Mumbai or Bangalore, but cities like Chittoor or Sonari are also looking for home lift installations,” says Vimal R Babu, Director, Elite Elevators. He further adds, “The commercial segment is already doing wonders; but what’s enchanting to see is that people with pent houses or duplexes in these high rise apartments are also interested in residential lifts for mobility purpose. Not just 2018, next whole decade is ideal for elevator industry and all the players in the market will see good fortune coming their way.” However, there lie challenges as well as there are no set standards for home elevators in India. As per European Standards, a home elevator should follow Machine Directive 2006 42 EC and should comply with 194 parameters of safety standards. One just can’t sell an elevator for residential use in Europe and other developed nations without them complying with above safety measures. In the absence of any set standard makes the task difficult for elevator manufacturers. “It’s appalling to see that India, the 2nd largest elevator market in the world, still has no set standards for home elevators. Catering to this limited knowledge of customers, several big & local manufacturers are supplying them commercial lifts for residential purpose; which can be hazardous for their families. Therefore, we have taken this onus on ourselves to educate customers about aforementioned safety features that they must look for while investing in an elevator. The idea is to do business in an authentic & transparent manner,” points out Babu.
The commercial segment too is poised for huge growth if current infrastructure development is any indication. “Infrastructure development presents a great opportunity for growth with the government’s focus on building 100 smart cities. If realised, this commitment toward speeding up the pace of urbanization by investing in smart cities, ports, metros and airports could provide immense growth to the elevator segment,” says an optimistic Joseph.
Taking due cognizance, elevator players are taking steps to increase their market share by introducing new product or expanding manufacturing facility etc. Take the example of Elite Elevators, it has recently introduced CogBelt elevator at ACETECH, in Mumbai. According to Babu, CogBelt is a patented technology and it is going to completely revolutionize the home elevator market in India. “Due to its double offset helix design, the Cogbelt minimises sounds and vibrations, optimising guidance of the belt over pulley. With its own SIL 3 certification, Altura (Cogbelt) sets itself apart from the crowd and moves beyond the mandatory, to be the undisputed winner in the Home Lift market,” he claims. Operated by a belt this home lift requires no additional oils or lubrication.
Similarly, Otis India in early 2015 completed the expansion of its factory in Bengaluru. The facility is now triple in size and has doubled in manufacturing capacity. Co-located with the factory is Otis’ R&D center in India that has also significantly expanded its engineering capacity in recent years. “The factory’s new test tower stands at a height of 51.2 meters and has the ability to test up to five elevators at a time. The test tower also includes mechanical and electrical test labs that are equipped with highend test equipment staffed by a strong technical team to ensure all new products are tested and qualified to stringent Otis safety, quality and reliability standards,” says Joseph. Apart from this, the company is developing an escalator manufacturing line within the facility in line with the pace with which urbanisation is taking place in India. All these are sheer indication of potential of India market offers to elevator sector.
The current population of the city is 340 million people or 30% of the country’s population. By 2030 it is expected that cities will house 590 million people or 40 percent of the population, and that India will have 68 cities with population of more than 1 million according to a recent McKinsey report,. Future cities and developing economies hold a lot of potential for infrastructure growth and therefore, urbanisation is a major driver for the elevator segment in India.
If ongoing activities are any indication, then elevator market in India is poised for huge growth in the near future. The demand from smaller cities is a testimony of that.