India is one of the countries which is embracing luxury at its best. An increasing number of the people in this creamy layer is one such reason. Luxury is a constantly evolving and subjective concept, and not easy to define. Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. Luxury fashion is a billion-dollar industry employing millions of people around the world. Ever since the economy became more global, consumers have to a large extent been affected by this fast evolving industry.
Body: India’s luxury market has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. The market has been maturing at a steady pace with a change in the customer profile through the years. In 2012, India was the fastest growing luxury market in the Asia-Pacific region, brisker than even China and saw an almost 30 percent increase in 2013. The Indian Luxury market is expected to be worth US$18 billion by 2017.
Luxury and fashion have grown beyond cosmopolitan cities such as Delhi and Mumbai to cities like Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad. Fashion retail businesses are targeting these fashion conscious consumers including HNI’s and aspiring sections of society that include young executives and entrepreneurs. The new luxury consumer is younger, better informed and more global. With the emergence of a new class of affluent young Indians with great purchasing power, India is now a lucrative market to invest in for luxury brands. A large portion of these young consumers want to define their own rules and are open to experimenting.
Luxury brands are adopting various strategies by offering a unique range of products that not only cater to the elitist segment of society but also the aspirational consumers. A number of international luxury brands like Hermès, Tod’s, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Canali have launched India-inspired products to woo the new-age consumers. For instance, Hermès launched its limited edition silk saris and Canali has incorporated the famous Bandhgala Jackets of India in the Nawab Collection… the most recent being the collaboration between designer Sabyasachi and iconic red sole designer Christian Louboutin to launch a unique collection for the Indian market. We are in the post-modernisation era and this has impacted the business of fashion in several ways. There is a vast improvement in standard of living, factors like price consciousness has decreased, and the advent of technology (mobile & e-commerce) are leading to consumers demanding latest trends and products at par with the world’s best. The reach of the digital medium is far and wide, and has been a key factor in increasing the awareness of the international luxury brands in India. The course of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, fashion blogs and dedicated fashion websites have further led to increased awareness in this space. The consumers today are well-versed with the latest trends and know what they want.
Social media acts as an amplifier for communication between the brands and the consumers. It not only gives an opportunity to the brand to engage its consumers but also analyse the reach, as it is traceable, measurable and actionable. More and more luxury brands are engaging their consumers through digital platforms. Burberry was one of the first international luxury brands to successfully use Facebook for live streaming of their shows worldwide, posting visuals on Instagram and encouraging user engagement and interaction on Twitter. Their most successful digital campaign was ‘Art of the Trench’, where consumers could post their photographs and see themselves wearing the trademark Burberry trench coat.
A key driver behind the growth of the luxury market in India is the luxury shopping malls both existing and upcoming that have provided a truly conducive atmosphere, ensuring more exposure to the brands. Luxury brands are niche in their approach and look for the right space for their presence. DLF Emporio, being the only luxury mall in the country houses over 104 International and Indian brands and offers bespoke services and experiences to the customers. With the success of DLF Emporio and lack of space for new luxury entrants in the country, we have put in motion the construction
of another luxury mall in Chanakyapuri in association with NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council).
Last year, the luxury market showed a very erratic trend that may be attributed to elections, however, since April this year it has been buoyant and this is an indicator for the coming years. According to a study by Deloitte, the emerging markets in the next five years are expected to make up 50 percent of the luxury retailing industry.
The luxury market is likely to witness unprecedented growth across categories including jewellery, fashion, automobiles and fine dining. Driven by increasing disposable income and aspirations, Indian consumer spending is expected to grow four times by 2017.While Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi and Dior remain at the top of their game, there is a growing appetite for affordable luxury brands such as BCBGMAXAZRIA, Hackett, Missoni and La Martina. Bottega Veneta, Paul Smith, Jimmy Choo and Roberto Cavalli also remain a popular choice among the new age consumers and those in the top echelon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dinaz Madhukar, Sr. Vice President and Mall Head, DLF Promenade & DLF Emporio Heads the company’s marketing operations. Dinaz has over 24 years of strong operational experience. Her last posting before joining DLF Group was as a General Mamager with The Taj, with asset management, training and development, F&B and guest relations lead responsibilities. She holds a Master’s in Management from IIM Bangalore, a Bachelor’s degree in Law, and is also a AHMA Certified Hospitality Educator. An active member of Rotary Club and CII Environment Committee, in her spare time, she enjoys reading and exploring new places and new cuisine. She is also a past winner of CMO Asia award for 50 Most Talented Retail Professionals of India (Asia Retail Congress).