ON News

China
August 16, 2017

Sephora China supports Operation Smile to help disadvantaged children

eCommerce
August 16, 2017

Kering dismisses lawsuit against Alibaba

eLuxury
August 11, 2017

Yoox Net-a-Porter CEO dreams of selling Ferraris online one day

Lexus
August 9, 2017

LEXUS MAIN SPONSOR OF THE 74TH VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Motor
August 9, 2017

THE NEW ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM

Sport
August 9, 2017

TAG Heuer Official Timekeeper of French Ligue de Football Professionnel

Bentley
August 7, 2017

STEFAN SIELAFF (BENTLEY) ADDS DIRECTORSHIP OF MULLINER TO BRIEF

Lexus
August 7, 2017

CONCEPT OF ‘CO-’ INSPIRES LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2018

Tourism
August 4, 2017

SPA UNDER THE STARS: THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS INTRODUCES TWILIGHT POOL ACCESS FOR SPA GUESTS

Events
August 3, 2017

Parfums Christian Dior participates for first time in Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie photography festival in Arles

Motor
August 2, 2017

Riva and Abarth: the meeting of two great Italian excellence

Motor
July 27, 2017

ROLLS-ROYCE ANNOUNCES ‘THE JOHN LENNON PHANTOM V’

Bentley
July 27, 2017

New Bentley Continental GT Convertible Galene Edition by Mulliner, inspired by luxury yachts

Videos
July 25, 2017

Interview Karl Lagerfeld CHANEL Fall-Winter 2017/18 Haute Couture show

China
July 24, 2017

Top web celebrity Zhang Dayi reveals the key to her business success

China
July 23, 2017

9 Mobile Social Marketing Tips for Luxury Brands in China

Asia
July 22, 2017

Louis Vuitton opens China e-commerce store

Learning
July 20, 2017

LVMH Institut des Métiers d’Excellence selects Polimoda as official partner in Italy for leather goods professional training

Videos
July 18, 2017

CHANEL FALL-WINTER 2017/18 HAUTE COUTURE

Style
July 17, 2017

JonOne splashes out on Hennessy Very Special

Style
July 15, 2017

Back to traditional reading

eCommerce
July 14, 2017

The world of high fashion finally has its answer to Amazon

Technology
July 13, 2017

Louis Vuitton introduces smartwatch to compete with Apple

Style
July 12, 2017

Chaumet, Dior Joaillerie, Louis Vuitton and Bulgari unveil new high jewelry collections

Events
July 9, 2017

L’Atelier LVMH Impressed At Viva Technology

Job
July 9, 2017

Kering Job in Switzerland

Dubai
July 8, 2017

Dubai’s real estate sector shows signs of improvement

Events
July 7, 2017

Disrupt, Act, Risk to be an Entrepreneur… Discover DARE from LVMH

Events
July 6, 2017

Exhibition “Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams”

Asia
July 3, 2017

Richemont sells Shanghai Tang

Ranking of India’s Leading Luxury Retail Cities

Delhi NCR – Has the most enriching retail legacy among the Indian cities, therefore the city tops all real estate drivers.  Delhi, especially the National Capital Region, remain one of the strongest markets in terms of sale volumes for the manufacturers

Mumbai – Mumbai has the highest retail demand potential. However, a lack of availability of land parcels leading to high rents in prime areas act as a dampener that causes Mumbai to lag behind Delhi

Pune – Pune provides the most affordable rents in prime areas among the Tier I, Tier II cities

Bangalore – Affordable rents in the city—compared to other Tier I & some Tier II cities, have helped the retail to flourish here. However, the city has lesser household expenditure even when compared to Kolkata and Chennai

Ahmedabad – A cash rich city, increased spending on premium high-end offerings from global auto makers. For Italian super-luxury sports car maker Lamborghini, cities like Ahmedabad have put up sales figures of six units in the last six months. These figures are significant because the Volkswagen-owned brand sold 16 units in 2014 as against 22 in 2013

Chennai – “Chennai-ites are mature shoppers. They are well-travelled and not afraid to pay for quality,” says Ajay Agarwal, Managing Director, Bergamo. Chennai embraced the concept of department stores much before the other metros did. Demand for office space continues to grow for the third straight year

Hyderabad – Hyderabad offers attractiveness in terms of affordable rents, which is higher only to Pune among the Tier II cities. However, lesser household income and household expenditure has ranked it lower.

Indian Luxury Retail Trends-– Emerging Tier 2 and 3 cities

44 per cent of these wealthy Indians reside in tier-two and tier-three cities. In the tier 2 and 3 cities, the highest demand is for luxury automobiles, followed by apparel for women and accessories for both sexes. 600 cities from Tier 2, 3 and 4 categories would be 4.5X times the current size (Source: BCG)

india-2-1

Indian Luxury Retail Trends- Performance drivers

Value Conscious consumer – India is essentially a value conscious consumer base. New trends in this direction are :

  • Pre-owned luxury : Pre-owned luxury is a fast catching trend. BMW, Mercedes and Audi have showrooms for sale of Pre-owned cars.  A rapidly growing market owing to high depreciation of up to 30% in first 6 months, this is a highly attractive proposition. Besides, it is quickly moving out of the initial category of automobiles. The second-hand market for luxury Leather goods and clothing segment is growing faster than the luxury industry overall. Online Platforms like Luxepolis, Luxury station etc are relying on the fact that a considerable amount of merchandise lies unused in the closets of women. This made available at a good resale price, is fuelling young generation’s growing aspiration of owning premium and luxury brands
  • Rent a experience: There are sites that offer ‘rent a luxury’ product / services. The consumer wants to lap it up since works completely well with their changing mindset as well as pockets. A big portion of the demand of car rentals industry is for luxury cars as the aspiring consumer with increased disposable income wants to feel like a star for a special date or on anniversary.

Customization : With the increase in consumer desire for exclusive products, luxury brands such as Zegna, Tom Ford, Corenliani  are adopting bespoke services, as an ultimate expression of luxury for the UHNI’s. This has also given rise to limited editions or special series to generate artificial desire and demand. Customization and strong supply side are imperative steps for boosting the luxury market growth. In addition, past offerings by International brands (Sari by Hermes; Nawab jacket by Canali) have set the tone for future directions for brands to adopt India specific range.

Increasing digital influence – Digi-lux, the new mantra : Luxury brand were vary of making their products available online as it erodes the ‘exclusive’ element from the luxury product but they are realizing the importance of online platform not just for commercial viability but also to connect better with their consumers. Suddenly jewellery to cars to real estate to services – all being sought on the net.  A combination of physical stores, digital experiences and social media engagement is the new mantra.

Competitive landscape – Collaborate not compete : Although, there are multiple brands in every segment within the Luxury domain, the key to expansion and continued development of Indian Luxury Industry is collaboration, not competition. it is imperative to keep growing by synergizing our knowledge of craft with contemporary needs. Bringing together the expertise while not diluting the brand equity is the key in a market with highly fragmented consumer base.  A recent collaboration of an Indian designer brand, Sabhyasachi Mukherjee with an international designer brand Christian Louboutin set a new trend of collaborative approach of non competing brands, that showcased the best amalgamation of craft , culture and design sensibilities of two great creative geniuses.

Indian Luxury Retail Trends- Barriers

Despite the positivity outlook, the market does have certain inherent trade barriers:

  • Foreign Direct Investment :  is a key regulatory road block to growth of the sector. Foreign direct investment restrictions are keeping brands out of the India. 51% foreign ownership is the limit; 100% is allowed but only with 30% local sourcing which many brands find difficult to comply with. Brands fear for dilution of their name and harming their business models
  • Lack of adequate luxury retail Infrastructure is yet another roadblock. Retail infrastructure is nonexistent and street level environments are often unkempt. This forces luxury brands to generally launch boutiques in luxury malls or hotels, through joint ventures with local distributors

india-2-2

  • Lack of talent : Talent which understand luxury retail as a sector is a challenge to find. Those available are under competent and highly over paid. Specialised skill centres and luxury B Schools have been initiated by few organizations, Luxury connect being the first one to do so.
  • Import tariffs  : are averagely ranging between 30%-40%. This coupled with the high transportation costs, causes simple price parity and margin issues for retailers. It is often cheaper for Indians to buy abroad.

Indian Luxury Retail Trends- Opportunity

  1. The Bridge to Luxury : The “bridge to luxury” is a strategy specifically aimed at emerging & immature luxury markets. For the luxury brand, this type of market presents a number of challenges.
  • Demand is primarily driven by price. With wealth and disposable income a relatively new phenomenon the consumer is still extremely cost conscious.
  • The consumer is looking for brand aspiration/recognition as the main benefit of luxury consumption. In other words, the market does not yet value luxury for the actual experience and quality — it is characterized by conspicuous consumption from an increasingly your image conscious population, keen to display their wealth or social status.
  • The presence of “knock off” products in the local market — the combination of brand and cost driven demand the local market is much more open/susceptible to trade in fake goods.

india-2-3Entry level range models make up for maximum sales and provide the ‘bridge to luxury’ that the millennial generation is aspiring for. For example, from the above info graphic, it is quite clear that in case of both BMW as well as Audi, majority revenue share comes from the entry and the middle level ranges of 1 & 3 series respectively.

2) Targeted Distribution Channels : Lack of quality retail space & presence of customer in different geographical areas and inability of suppliers to reach the target customer necessitates that the brands develop innovative models for distribution. An example of innovative distribution strategy was adopted by Judith Lieber, luxury handbag brand, when they conducted an exclusive ‘Trunk show’ in Indore, a tier 2 city. The sales from this event equalled 10% of the previous years. Brands like a Kiton and John Lobb have entered through a private sale model with no physical showroom or permanent over head.

In addition, with the rate of increase of internet penetration, E-commerce in India is at an initial stage and has a long way to go. There is rather an over-supply  of start-ups expressing the immaturity of e-commerce market and Luxury brands must be conscious of choosing the right distribution channel

Concluding Remarks & Suggestions : The Road Ahead

Luxury comes a full circle in India. India is not new to luxury brands. Although India may be the fasting growing economy in the world but grabbing a piece of this market is more difficult than anticipated. What was western luxury brands’ biggest consumer base during the times of the maharaja’s, is once again the target market for the same brands. This time, it’s the new maharaja, the new corporate Henry, the new young pulsating India that is driving in sales of luxury goods. This customer has dreams and expectations. He wants luxury to be providing a personalized, customized and Indianized experience. India’s new breed of consumer indulging in luxury goods and services is expecting a more cherished luxurious experience. Luxury brands should engage themselves in creating a brand connect with the consumers through media, PR, special events & so on.

Provide closeness, uniqueness, product and brand acquaintance with appropriate messages. Educate this new Indian customer with your value proposition – reach out – engage – inform – indulge – entertain and then retain. This customer is loyal and will remain with the brand if assured of prompt service, efficient sales staff, continuous engagement and mutual respect.

Some of the luxury brands entered the market with flashy advertisements and low product width, but wrapped up because their target old rich consumer was expecting the same experience as they get abroad. Now they are shifting their focus on the newly affluent customer who is aspirational but doesn’t understand the products very well.  Their current mass marketing strategies are not working.

In a country with a multitude of cultures, languages, religions, festivals, colours and tastes there needs to be a localized marketing strategy. Brands will have to understand the flamboyant Punjabi and a reserved Bengali. For example, luxury brand Montblanc — which successfully operates nineteen retail points across first, second and third tier cities in India — has regionalised all their marketing material. “There is a clear distinction in customer values between [Indian] states,” says Tanya Kapinda of ID8 Media Solutions, an agency which works with Montblanc’s marketing division in India. “Any time a letterhead, invitation or a newsletter is produced, we customize [it] according to the local language and other aesthetic considerations such as colors used and the amount of decoration.”

With varied types of customer categories, it is imperative to connect and convert the first time walk in client in a luxury store. As from the study, store staff interaction came out as one on the most important parameters for customer conversion and retention. Sales staff can elevate the consumers’ involvement with the brand, both emotionally and materially. For closing the sale and retaining repeat customers, brands must deliver influential, enlightening and touching experiences as the physical store experience is the most memorable form of communication that a luxury brand can offer.

Organizations need to create value experience through the digital platform in alignment with the store experience.

A vast nation, multitude of cultures, unity in diversity and a majorly young population makes India a distinct consumer base for the luxury industry. Brands focusing on India specific strategy and connecting with the local Indian consumer will be the ones who will be most triumphant in the coming years.

Luxury from maharaja to masses is here to stay.

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