5 factors that still drive proptech after a decade of explosive growth

COVID-19 may have hit every industry across India, but proptech has rebounded on the back of innovation and technology. Here are five key trends that will continue to drive the growth of the real estate sector.
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According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), Indian real estate will exceed $1 trillion in value by 2030, up $120 billion in 2017. By 2025, it will contribute approximately 13 percent to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To enable this explosive growth, the sector is pushing for technology and innovation.

And this is where proptech startups have and will play a pivotal role. The general theme up till now has been to simplify operations and amplify productivity. But, going forward, every aspect of the core value chain is an opportunity waiting to be disrupted. In fact, there's never been a better time for entrepreneurs keen to work in the real estate industry.

Against this backdrop, here are five key trends that will continue to drive the growth of proptech in the future:

The rise of digital marketing

Gone are the days when the only mediums that realtors used were hoardings, radio, and print. All they could do was wait for the customer to establish the first connection. The advent of digital marketing has transformed the marketing paradigm completely.

The impact has been multi-layered in real estate.Realtors now spend better by targeting customers who are actually interested. And once the customer shares an interest, they immediately establish the connection. No more lag or loss of leads due to inaction.

With digital marketing becoming the norm, the space needs innovation. In today's day and age, consumers spend more time on their smartphones than anything else. And as per industry experts, short-video content is the future. In fact, studies show that it is 80 percent more engaging and impactful than static ads. This trend has led to a spurt of startups offering AI-led content management services.

Slew of progressive institutional reforms

In the last few years, the Indian government has brought in several reforms and policies. The most noteworthy ones include demonetisation, Pradhan-Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY), Flexible Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations, Real-Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), and Goods & Services Tax (GST).

Though controversial at times, their impact has been nothing less than transformational. To say the least, consumer morale and interest is at an all-time high. Given the status quo, real estate was still looking at a difficult transition. This chasm between the new standard and existing structures left space for innovation. And this need gap led to startups providing technology-led compliance and assessment services.

Advent of alternative investment models

Investment in commercial spaces has always been capital-intensive. This is also why the general populace has usually stayed away from it. But some startups saw this as an opportunity to democratise and make it more accessible. This brought forth the disruptive idea of fractional buying.

Under it, anyone can invest in a commercial property by taking up partial positions; their yields are proportional to their stakes. It has gathered pace in India while also attracting venture investments from marquee names such as YCombinator.

COVID led to the rise of virtual sales

The pandemic was catastrophic for all industries but more so for real estate. Lockdowns brought a complete halt to all sales and marketing efforts. Words like concession and abetment became the norm. Yet this adversity also offered an opportunity for innovation.

Virtual Reality finally made an entry into real estate. Due to the ban on physical site visits, realtors started offering virtual site experiences. And the customers loved it! As of today, multiple startups are operating in this space. Given the positive response, realtors don't see any reason to go back to status quo.

Soaring AI-driven performance marketing

Performance marketing took birth in ecommerce but is now witnessing quick adoption in real estate. In fact, realtors are skipping the traditional format and jumping directly to the AI-driven version. Through real-time recommendations and insights, AI is disrupting the sales and marketing paradigm.

It is helping realtors optimise marketing spends, design better marketing mix models, enhance conversion ratios across the sales funnel, and amplify the overall performance of their teams. Yet care should still be taken in selection and due diligence as AI is only as good as the data it uses. Nevertheless, the long-term impact is bound to be favourable.

Moving forward

It’s been close to 22 months since COVID-19 completely disrupted our lives. However, it is also true that tech and digital intervention in real estate are much more prominent today than during the pre-COVID era. In the face of adversity, the industry has moved swiftly towards technology adoption.

Over the last decade, the aforementioned factors have driven proptech and raised the potential for real estate in general. Though the pandemic halted this amazing trajectory, these growth drivers are potent even today and can help the present-day real estate market recover and grow.

Edited by Teja Lele

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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