India’s elevator market moves upward

Real estate owners and developers are, as part of their building design and construction plan, seeing elevators and escalators as an important long-term investment

January 26, 2024 03:49 pm | Updated February 03, 2024 11:35 am IST

Elevators and escalators, once reserved for only the largest or most elite buildings, have now become essential components in daily life, particularly in urban centres characterised by modern, towering structures. This shift is helping India’s elevator and escalator segment continue on a robust growth trajectory. Several factors contribute to this growth in demand, including urbanisation marked by a growing population with an increase in disposable income, the expansion of high-speed metro projects and other infrastructure, a rise in office spaces and commercial establishments and an ageing population in need of safe, vertical transportation. As the industry expands, it becomes paramount for companies to comprehend the dynamics of the customer base, and the underlying catalysts propelling the market’s expansion.

Market growth drivers

The ongoing population expansion and push into cities has resulted in a surge in residential building development and infrastructure enhancements. Notably, the rapid expansion of high-speed metro projects in tier I and tier II cities has become a focal point, meeting the escalating demand for efficient public transportation systems.

As more individuals migrate to urban centres in pursuit of better livelihoods and job prospects, the imperative for advanced transport infrastructure has become increasingly evident. The continuous proliferation of metro stations not only augments the country’s overall infrastructure but also catalyses a heightened demand for elevators and escalators within these transportation hubs. The forthcoming years are anticipated to witness further growth, spurred by real estate investments near metro rail stations and the construction of residential high-rise buildings to accommodate a growing ageing population.

In response to these evolving market demands, leading elevator and escalator companies are strategically leveraging digital solutions to enhance customer experiences. These encompass user-friendly portals that enable customers to seamlessly purchase elevators online. This digital platform facilitates customisation, provides live quotes, and allows easy bookings via mobile phones or laptops, thereby streamlining the entire process and elevating the customer experience.

Furthermore, the market is witnessing a surge in demand for customised elevators tailored to specific requirements. Building owners and developers are increasingly seeking lifts that differ in size, shape, and design elements such as cabin walls, lights, and flooring. This inclination towards tailored solutions underscores the need for innovative approaches by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to meet the diverse preferences of their customers and passengers.

Lastly, the rise in consumer income has led to a notable demand for elevators within the residential sector that not only prioritises functionality but also contributes to décor. Elevators designed for both aesthetics and utility are gaining prominence, reflecting a discerning consumer base that seeks stylish and personalised vertical transportation solutions.

Investment considerations

For real estate owners, developers and managers, elevators and escalators are an important long-term investment as part of the overall building design and construction. Elevators have a long life-cycle — typically 20+ years.

Over the course of this period, building owners and their facility managers must keep tenants safely moving by limiting downtime and maintaining the proper operation of the elevator — this requires both preventative maintenance as well as corrective repairs.

Additionally, advancements in equipment, service technologies, and the way companies connect and share information with their customers is constant. Incorporating cutting-edge digital service technology to uphold the safety, quality and functionality of elevator systems must be considered to meet tenant expectations, increase product lifespan and protect the overall investment.

Passenger preferences influence market dynamics

Vertical transportation in India, specifically within the residential sector is driven by the country’s population surge and the transition from small one-story dwellings to highrises. The demand is particularly pronounced in Tier II and III cities, where government initiatives promoting affordable housing have further amplified sector growth. These residential structures rely on elevators for both human transportation and the movement of goods between floors.

Also, for building owners to attract and retain tenants in a highly competitive market, they must embrace modern amenities and digital upgrades that passengers expect and demand. Elevators with new materials and textures, but also greater connectivity to building security systems, concierge information and mobile phones make travel experiences faster, more comfortable, and customised to tenant needs.

Vertical transportation remains pivotal in facilitating safe, convenient and efficient movement across India’s urban landscapes, reflecting the industry’s commitment to progress. By embracing innovation and adapting to market conditions and demand, the industry plays a fundamental role in shaping India’s urban infrastructure today and into the future.

The writer is president, Otis India.

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