After 40 days of lockdown, many of the plywood, laminate, hardware and display retail showrooms of building material is being reported to open in many states. A new guideline was issued by the government on 3rd May, after that some efforts to re-start business activities in various states are clearly visible. Although with strict guidelines for maintaining social distancing and health safety majors, plywood-laminate retailers and distributors shops in green zone and orange zone marked areas have opened up.
The smaller towns and cities or rural areas are reportedly demanding plywood and panels that is leading to increased query to distributors but major urban areas are not reporting much of demand. Many of the counters have told the Ply Reporter correspondents about 'almost zero sales observed' in first 2-3 days. Almost every state has noticed exodus of labours or their restless mood to go back to their natives, have pushed the shops to accept the new normal to live with low sales for a few months.
It is evident that plywood and laminate sellers are opening their shops but it is selling only to such clients who have started their interior or construction work before Corona hitting the region. The ongoing work is the only main buyer for the current movement indicates that if Corona fear does not reduces in time to come, the demand will be severely impacted. In many areas, the dealers completed their paper works and after few hours of wait and no response, they closed their shops.
The Ply Reporter team did a brief survey in these areas and talked to more than 50 dealers and retailers located in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Vapi, Silwasa, Delhi, Bilaspur, Kolhapur, Ludhiana, Begusarai, Ballia, etc. The reports find that there is good footfall of customers in Rural market, whereas semi-urban and urban market has lesser footfall.
Mr Venkatesh Bajaj, Bajaj Glass & Plywood, Bangalore said, “We opened the shops on 4th May itself but there is no footfall of customers, the very first day we send two pending dispatches only and the next day was almost blank. Actually people are in fear and labours have gone to their naive place. The sentiment is not looking good, I feel that being secondary goods in priority will pick up sales when the real estate will revive. In Karnataka only six districts are in red zone still people are very much in fear of this endemic and the plywood buying is the lesser importance for them.”
In the eastern part of the country, nearly 50% of shops/showrooms are opened. The dealers were busy in their paper works and after few hours seeing no response they closed their shops. In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu most of the shops in Green Zone have opened but the situation is almost same as the eastern part of the country. Mr Chandra Mohan of Bharat Plywood, Coimbatore said, “We just did cleaning and no customers are coming. We are expecting demand and works in houses with the available carpenters and contractors in the city.” Mr. Ajay Garg of Unique Collection, Delhi says that he has opened his shops on 4thMay, and he has been receiving orders on phone, some contractors have visited his shop. He informs that he has been dispatched some materials from shop.
The western part like cities in Maharashtra and Gujarat are badly affected of Covid 19 and most of the urban areas are either in red or orange zone so the authorities are highly strict and the dealers/showroom owners are willing to move ahead with authority’s guidelines. Mr Vinod Patel, Aaditya Decor, Vapi informed, ”The Vapi is in Orange zone despite that the market has not been opened as per local administration guidelines. My shop at Silvassa was opened on 4th of May. The response in two day was nothing as no customers are coming. We just cleaned up and after four- five hours shut down. I hope by next week sales will come of the situation remain under control.