The ‘Un’targeted Luxury Consumer of India

Studies show that the Luxury market of India is a fast growing segment with an impressive 25% expected rate of growth. Obviously brands around the world are seeing a lot of rich people in India who have the money and inclination to buy expensive brands. People who would have the affordability and propensity to buy the Louis Vuittons, the Armanis and the Rolexs of the world.

So who are these people?

Rich industrialists, Wealthy Business families, Senior Executive(CEOs, CFOs etc) with high pay packages, living in the Metros. Basically, people living in South Mumbai and South Delhi. Wow, targeting a captive audience should never have been easier, just open a store in a prime location in South Mumbai/Delhi and you’re sorted.

But is that the complete picture? With numerous new brands coming into the country, can a niche consumer base drive high growth? Or are we missing something?

Research points towards the emergence of finer consumer segments as the potential luxury market. Luxury in India is seeing a new customer base in the increasingly wealthy upper middle-class of Tier 2/3 cities. It is the symbol of an increasingly dynamic and vibrant luxury market that transcends India’s ‘old money’. It is the rise of a confident consumer class, powered with new money, which is looking for identifiable social markers to impress upon their new status.

A new segment brings its own idiosyncrasies to the category. While the Metros remain the image leaders, theses consumer bases from middle India are inadvertently forming new codes of Luxury for themselves. Let’s look at a few

Bling it all the way!!

The Idea of an expensive gift for son-in-law is a gold rimmed watch. Opulent interiors mean chandeliers and brocaded upholstery. The notion of expensive Saree is not determined by its designer label as much as how ‘heavy’ it looks.    

While the big city consumers are moving towards subtlety, matted-metals and subdued colors, Bling still catches the imagination of middle India and they are not shy to show-it-off at all!

The bedazzling shine of gold and silver are their easiest way to say that ‘we are doing better than the others’.  The louder and overt the message, the better it works for the consumer.

The Fusion that always works

Corset Cholis, Halter Saree Blouses, Indian Chinese, Doughnut as mithai, Sushi for Ganpati celebrations.  Be it food, music, apparel or Lifestyle, the blend of Indian and Western is the most accepted among this class. It might not be ok to wear a bare shouldered gown but a backless blouse with a saree is absolutely cool. The Indianization of Western products is a way this consumer tries and accepts new things

The tendency points towards their inherent dilemma between the desire to try new/global/modern ideas while not letting go of the cultural, accepted, conventional ways.

Money for Value

The New Hyundai Verna is leading the category of Sedan class cars. And the prime reason articulated by consumers is its long list of luxury features.

No matter how wealthy the consumer becomes, the utilitarian middle class mindset compels to seek more value in everything. While brand names and their aura can lure them, but better functionality, more features, has and will always help in converting attention into product purchase. Especially true for all gadgets/technical products, where one more new and different feature can become its point of differentiation.

While the above themes are just tip of the iceberg, a complete understandings of the ‘New India’ consumer can help Luxury brands create focused products and communication for this segment and increase their brand reach many folds. The question is are the LVs, Armanis, Guccis listening!

Runjhun Pacholi
AGM – Strategy
DY Works

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