Growth and Opportunities in Indian Luxury Segment

Say Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and Jimmy Choo and you’ll have every woman’s attention on you.  Luxury Brands have been always an aspiration and once a rarity in India. We all remember how shopping abroad really meant shopping for luxury brands largely, which is not the case anymore.

L-R: Sanjay Kapoor, Shailesh Grover, Vella Ramasawmy
L-R: Sanjay Kapoor, Salesh Grover, Vella Ramasawmy

We saw our favourite shoe brand Christian Louboutin foray in the Indian market in 2013, which is the same year when Versace made a comeback. This only goes to explain how India, just like its developing country allies is the word for exponential growth. Is India really ready for Luxury brand retailing? Mr Sanjay Kapoor, Managing Director, Genesis Luxury gave FMW his insights, “The Indian luxury market is growing at an average rate of 20% over the last few years and is set to exceed the $10 Million mark by this year. This is a very healthy indicator for brands entering the Indian luxury market.”

Although, world economy is feeling the pinch of the slow down, luxury brands only seem boosted by the opportunity that Indian market beholds. Salesh Grover, Business Head, OSL Luxury Collections which houses the Italian luxury brand Corneliani, opines, “The growth factor has been lucrative for luxury brands to enter in India. Since high-end products and lifestyles are not price elastic, they are not much affected by the slowdown. Nouveau riche customer base has been increasing with the rise in disposable income, brand awareness and with purchasing power of the upper class in Tier II & III cities in India. The major reasons for growth are the young demographic profile, increasing number of millionaires and aspirational group. However the growth of the luxury industry faces a challenge with regards to availability of skilled and trained talent. To address this issue we need schools like Luxury Connect, which provides special focused training in luxury segment, by offering various programs in collaboration with International Universities.”

How are these luxury brands foreseeing growth? “The consumer base is expanding due to higher awareness levels through travel and media proliferation. Luxury is also expanding into newer categories such as personal care and homes. Fashion brands are also growing laterally in categories such as men’s accessories and overall more men are spending more on themselves in pursuance of a better lifestyle. This increased demand across categories will further fuel supply and we will see many more brands enter the market.” Mr. Kapoor explains why the likes of luxury brands are eyeing their share of the pie in the lucrative Indian Market, even though only a small segment of the Indian population can afford luxury.

Mr. Vella Ramasawmy General Manager, Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi concludes, “India is a growing economy and has embraced the arrival of luxury hotel in the country. People want to get a high and get accustomed to the new lifestyle – luxury living. I also feel that this segment is expanding and has a high potential. Europe’s oldest luxury hotel brand, Kempinski, has a separate programme for People Talent where seasoned professionals handpick the best skill for every department. This annual programme aims to give opportunity to bright young minds to achieve excellence in their respective fields.”

India has always been a country home to luxury and it would only be exciting to see how luxury brands grow in the coming years. Time and again, brands have entered and housed their interests in escalating their operations in India. Why not? After all we are a nation with growing upper middle class and middle class brackets and luxury stems in our roots. Remember our ancestors have been kings and queens and all things only royalty!

By: Akanksha Narang & Kinjal Shah

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