The business slowdown, the slowing economy, the sustained stock market fall (investor wealth eroded by a whopping Rs 19.5 lakh crore in 2011 as per market data of the Mumbai Stock Exchange), the dramatic fall of the rupee against the dollar, persistently high inflation, rising rates, fears of joblessness, political turmoil, and global uncertainty – in spite of so many negatives – the high end goods are still very much in demand.
Read excerpts from a recent report by Avantika Bhuyan and Priyanka Sharma (The Business Standard) that indicates how and why the niche brands are ‘very excited’ at the vast opportunity: “It’s a winter morning and one of south Delhi’s luxury malls, is just coming to life. A Mercedes-Benz E-Class and a Range Rover Sport stop; a gaggle of ladies with Jimmy Choo stilettos, Prada handbags and Chanel sunglasses emerge.
In the neighboring ubiquitous ‘mass market’ mall one can witness the less well-heeled leisurely ambling about – but these ladies, armed with a sense of purpose, have an agenda of finding the Harry Winston watch or Louis Vuitton bag. Early customers can be seen inside at the stores like Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton. Mention of the slowdown to their sales representatives and they grin…”
According to a sales executive at one of the Kapoor Watch Co outlets in Delhi, anyone who apparently can afford luxury watches in a price range of Rs 3 lakh & above won’t worry about inflation, the stock market crash, or the petrol price hike. They retail top brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, Omega, Longines, Rolex and Chopard.
Most luxury brands across a wide range of categories including automobiles, apparel and accessories highlight the fact that there is no sign of any slowdown in business, and no down-trading as well – a trend economists and social scientists have long amplified: luxury knows no recession. The message is loud and clear: people will continue to buy either for their own consumption or for their near and dear ones, In other words gifting as a trend will remain intact irrespective of the prevailing conditions.