Luxury, Now Affordable!
Ms Mala Alwani, Founder, BESIVA, explores the growing market for ‘affordable luxury’, as more and more Indian consumers are looking at luxury brands as their top choice for shopping apparel.
Exploring the growing market for affordable luxury
With rising incomes and greater exposure to Western cultures, the habits, tastes and needs of the new middle-class India is an emerging market as the consumers evolve–shoppers seeking aspirational, high quality brands at the best prices. Every consumer is well-versed with the international quality and longevity standards, and the social media outburst gives them up-to-date coverage on what’s the latest in the luxury segment.
Luxury has different meanings for different people. To some consumers, luxury goods provide a means to a better lifestyle, while others adapt luxury goods to their existing lifestyle. This perception varies with the maturity of the market and the exposure to which the consumers have been subjected. The growing influx of international luxury brands will be a gamechanger, the likes of which the retail sector has not seen in a very long time.
India’s luxury market is set to grow to US$30 billion from US$23.8 billion by the year-end, on the back of growing exposure of international brands amongst the Indian youth and higher purchasing power of the upper class in tier II and III cities.
Growth in the number of middle class consumers–fuelled by factors such as economic progress, higher productivity, educational attainment, urbanisation and more working women–is driving up average income and spend. Low-income consumers coming out of poverty are increasing expenditure on a range of discretionary items such as premium packaged foods, dining out, health and beauty, electronics, fashion and other products and services. They are not prepared to compromise on quality: in general, they would rather save up their money to buy fewer prestige brands than purchase a large number of inferior products. To make products affordable and appealing to emerging market consumers, brands like BESIVA are employing techniques such as paring down local production costs, sachet marketing, regional customisation and establishing a stronger online presence with wholesale as well as retail websites.
Well-travelled consumers and a stable economy, coupled with a young population with growing disposable incomes, spell good news for luxury brands across the world. With positive regulations and policies for the retail industry being put in place by the Government, India is a market that can no longer be ignored by international brands. And it turns out that this is what the modern Indian customer is looking for, whether they live in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru or Chennai.