India has the third-largest Internet user base in the world, with more than 300 million users. With the increasing penetration of internet, the scenario has changed the way businesses are done and real estate is not an exception with realty companies are increasingly getting into online mode. The emergence and sudden burst of digital era has become a game changer as it is now hugely convenient for developers to reach out to their prospective buyers with their products offering. Similarly, home buyers are well positioned to take informed decisions that too in a much shorter time frame. All this has not only infused transparency, but the overall market currently looks much more vibrant in nature with seamless availability of two-way information flow.
With changing demographics, a large population of new generation home buyers are carrying out their home research online before firming up their purchase decisions. Over the last four years in India, real estate transactions to the tune of over $43 billion have been influenced by research done on the internet, says a study by Google.
Taking the pulse of new age home buyer, the developers have also increased their focus on leveraging the opportunities the digital age is throwing. As per industry and trade body Assocham, Indian real estate companies spend an estimated Rs 2,500 crore on marketing every year. Of this, around 25 per cent of this expenditure is used now on digital marketing and this percentage is likely to multiply in the coming years with higher level of internet penetration and proliferation of smart phones.
Real estate companies are incorporating systems such as live chat, augmented reality, listings on property portals/search engines, review aggregators, feedback forums and video marketing as they enter into the arena of smart marketing.
Virtual reality or the ability to have a visual experience that feels like one is physically in a location, is making a buzz in real estate. For a real estate company, online maps are becoming highly crucial to pin locations of its past, current and upcoming projects. With the help of this medium, realtors are able to target audiences looking for properties in the pinned locations.
The embracement of digital medium by developers has indeed been a step in positive direction, with around 15% of online sales of reputed builders now coming online. There has also been a tremendous increase in leads by almost 300 per cent with its focused reach and the world as an audience.
All said and done, like any businesses, internet has also influenced the real estate industry in a big way and the process of this transformation will only gain momentum going forward with increasing penetration of internet and technological advancement.