The luxury industry is a global multi-trillion market comprising of a multitude of prestige brands with high relevance. And without a doubt, people view consuming luxury goods as a means of lifestyle and status symbol. The most valuable and influential brands in the world are shaping the future of global economies. The luxury industry serves in three major categories – Luxury Products (that we wear or carry), Luxury Services (that we experience like hospitality) and Luxury Assets (that we own like properties, vehicles). And the most visible sector of this industry is the market of luxury products which is around 30% of the total luxury industry.
Current Scenario of Indian Luxury Industry
There is a long and beautiful history of Indian luxury from the ages of Maharajas. Our splendid and opulent vision had always been an attraction for European luxury houses. Today, despite being in the emerging phase of development, India has still shown momentous progress in this sector. The significant increase in the number of Indian millionaires and billionaires in the past few decades have contributed vastly to the success of luxury brands in India, attracting the top corporate honchos, HNIs, bureaucrats and czars.
As per the global researchers, India is visualized as an upcoming luxury market due to its great potential. The top-selling goods in the Indian luxury market are from the fashion industry. Be it high-end fashion accessories or luxury clothing, Indians prefer to focus on wearable luxury more. The luxury industry is around $1.3 trillion globally and is growing at around 5%. This is helping the new Indian luxury brands to enter this high growth market, despite myriad numbers of domestic and international brands.
Buying Behaviour of Indian Consumers
Social class is often considered more important than income in affecting buying behaviour. And this is reflected in the spending style and psychology of Indian consumers which vary a lot from the western buyers. The culture of India is more value and brand conscious and they always look for a good branded deal to maintain their social symbol.
Due to high import duties, Indian consumers often find it better to buy from abroad without compromising with the brand name. This unconventional pattern of buying is leading to over-consumption of luxury goods in India.
Global luxury consumers identify themselves with the brand and they value the intricate craftsmanship of the product with the heritage or story behind. However, Indian consumers buy to flaunt as it creates a mark of status and prestige in their society. They are more brand conscious and logo-centric as compared to the uniqueness offered. For instance, Indian men prefer to buy shoes with prominent logos while Indian women prefer to buy handbags which are more visible.
Role of Indians Consumers in Luxury Industry
Even though the big socialites, celebrities and corporate czars are more visible in media owning luxury products, the actual Indian luxury consumers are the small and medium enterprise owners. They have plenty of money to be spent but not status in society. Thus, in order to acquire it, they prefer to buy luxury goods through their abundant money as buying luxury products is the only and perfect solution for them.
The other contributing factor to the success of international luxury brands is their affordability. Today, many affordable luxury brands like Gucci, Michael Kors, Charles & Keith have been successful in luring the hearts of aspirational Indian consumers. These international brands have let the brand-conscious Indian shoppers buy status symbols at much lower prices than the average luxury brands.
It is true to the depth that the luxury industry helps in shaping the society’s culture, identity and lifestyle. And when we talk about Indian luxury consumers, we cannot deny the fact that they value the brand name more than the creativity and uniqueness behind it. Moreover, consuming luxury products help them to make a social statement of their wealth in their society with ease.
This article has been contributed by Aakash Mohan and Ganesh Verma, Founders & CEO, Zwölf – House of Social & PR