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French luxury brands eager for Indian pie

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India’s luxury perceptions were decoded when French luxury association Comite Colbert organised a meet on “Luxury and India” in Paris, with a minister urging for developing a country-specific model.

“An India-specific model for French luxury brands entering the country will encourage a synergistic approach on both sides,” Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said at the two-day meet.

The meeting, jointly organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Comite Colbert, came on the heels of a recent visit to India by French luxury honchos eager to establish their brand footprints in the country. Comite Colbert brings together 68 French luxury purveyors like Hermes, Chanel and Vuitton.

“The meeting was a high-quality interaction. Different Indian speakers made valuable contributions to our exchanges and enhanced the quality of our debates and business in India,” said Françoise Montenay, chairman, Comite Colbert. Indian fashion designer Ritu Beri and media baron Shobhna Bhartia also addressed the meeting, which followed a similar exchange in India this March.

The market for luxury goods in India is pegged at $500 million by a report jointly drafted by FICCI and market research firm Ogilvy. The market is likely to grow with luxury services adding $800 million, according to a recent report by management consultancy firm AT Kearney. The Indian luxury assets market is an impressive $2 billion, according to the same survey.

French luxury brands view the Indian market from two perspectives: firstly, transferring skills from luxury ateliers to Indian craftsmen and developing brand synergies with India, as Indian policymakers open doors to single-brand luxury retail; and secondly, multi-branded retail. This will usher in employment and development of technologies in supply chain management and luxury retail management, and also develop Indian luxury brands for the West, speakers at the seminar voiced.

Today, luxury means different things to different Indian consumers, who are increasingly affluent, empowered by choice, and seeking “bespoke luxury”. It comes as little surprise when the richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, gave his wife on her birthday a corporate jet worth $6.10 million.

It therefore seems to be the right time for brands to key into India for a luxury foothold.

– Bangalore Bureau

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