Upper end of the market continues to thrive amid slowdown

Has the slowdown interfered with the eclectic buyer’s appetite for high luxury? A recent article by Avantika Bhuyan & Priyanka Sharma (The Business Standard), gives an insight on the ground situation. The broad inference it draws is that there is no significant impact on the upper end of the market as far as sales are concerned.

It quotes a successful entrepreneur eager to flaunt her wealth, as saying: “I would rather buy an expensive handbag that I can carry with me through the year than a gold set for the same amount of money that I would only wear during a wedding. It is all about how you choose to spend on luxury.”

One reason for this trend could also be the fact that prices in India are now more or less the same as abroad. Three years ago, buyers would arm themselves with lists of Chanel lipstick shade numbers or Dior bag descriptions before going abroad. Today they prefer to purchase in India. The difference between Indian and global prices is kept at a bare minimum and is usually the value-added tax.

Listen to what another entrepreneur who markets luxury brands has to say on this particular issue: “The difference between Indian and international price range is rather quite small. A Louis Vuitton bag may be a bit cheaper in London, but the prices in Delhi and Bangkok are almost identical.” Same is the case with Dior handbags.

What’s holding this particular segment of the market together is the new dynamic, jet-setting generation of luxury products buyers in the age group of 21-35. As a retailer points out, this indeed is a very exciting segment, with the kind of consumer base with a fresh outlook, who is keen to show success, flaunts wealth. The young professionals are ambitious and self-driven.

As the news report mentions: “There’s the other kind of consumer segment – 37-plus, more mature and equally well established. They belong to the connoisseur category. It’s these two distinct demographics, which make Indian market an interesting one.” This is where the gifting industry needs to channelize its efforts, as well…

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