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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Do Indians feel safe and comfortable inside their own homes?

An international survey outlines trends that have emerged from a year of surviving the pandemic, which includes the need for flexible spaces and greener interiors

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | New Delhi |
May 18, 2021 4:15:15 pm
Ikea’s Life at Home report 2020, home covid 19, Ikea’s Life at Home report, Ikea India, the idea of home, home provides comfort securityTheir annual surveys have been a means to understand their consumers better and provide answers to some of their home questions. (Photo: PR handout)

While nearly 94 per cent of Indian consumers felt it’s important for a home to provide comfort, only 57 per cent said that their home actually provided comfort. It’s almost true for other parameters such as security, belonging, ownership and privacy. Nonetheless, it did not take away from a fundamental truth that a majority of people saw the home as a sanctuary and family as a support to achieve common goals.

These findings have emerged from Ikea’s Life at Home (LAH) report 2020. The Swedish company, which is over seven decades old, has been in the business of providing home solutions that are simple, modern and comfortable. Their annual surveys have been a means to understand their consumers better and provide answers to some of their home questions. The LAH report also points to another reality – that nearly two out of five people have made changes to their homes in this pandemic.

How do we unlock the many meanings and associations we ascribe to a home, and in these days of lockdowns, what are the choices we are making, globally and locally? In the seventh edition of the annual report, the company maps the needs within a home through five lenses – privacy, security, comfort, belonging and ownership. The global survey was done in 37 countries where Ikea has a presence, with more than 38,200 people. Some of the answers are telling: “If I was to make a post-2020 resolution, it would be to treat home as a place to live, rather than a hotel where I come in the evening to sleep before my next day at work,” said Dilip from Sweden, while Rachel from Australia said, “My connection with my home is definitely stronger…I’m so thankful for this space and have grown to love and relax in it.”

Ikea’s Life at Home report 2020, home covid 19, Ikea’s Life at Home report, Ikea India, the idea of home, home provides comfort security Kavitha Rao, country commercial head, IKEA India. (Photo: PR handout)

Kavitha Rao, Country Commercial Head, IKEA India, says, “In the past, spaces in a home revolved around activities, today it’s become more multi-functional. Earlier, a living room was where you hosted friends and the bedroom was a private space. Now, your bedroom is partly your study, which also means the layout of the home has changed. So, the question is how we will rethink spaces in a home in the future. People are also looking at flexible spaces that can contract and expand based on need. There is a consciousness to bring in nature and have more sustainable ways of living.”

If the LAH report of 2018 showed that there were places outside the home where people felt “at home”, in 2020, people were demanding more for the home. While people made changes to their homes, they also wanted to do more in their homes. While 40 per cent wanted to create a proper work/study space, nearly 38 per cent wanted a private garden or an outdoor area, some wanted bigger kitchens while some sought a good play area for children.

This online research was pan-India, for consumers in the age-group of 18 to 45 years. While nuclear and joint families constituted a big portion (61 per cent), 40 per cent included new couples, people living by themselves or with friends, empty nesters, or families without children.

“A lot of our products have been inspired by our surveys. For instance, the seating-cum-sleeping furniture that has worked very well in Mumbai, where space is always a constraint. We have vertical storage options where we use the walls and clear the floor space. However, a product alone doesn’t make a home. It’s a collection of things that bring comfort,” adds Rao.

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