TURN­ING A NEW LEAF

Small is big and niche is the new nor­mal as lux­ury brands go on a rein­ven­tion spree to find ap­peal among younger con­sumers

India Today - - INSIDE - By Prachi Bhuchar

Small is big and niche is the new nor­mal as lux­ury brands go on a rein­ven­tion spree

The lux­ury busi­ness is in a real bind. How do you main­tain ex­clu­siv­ity in an age where ev­ery­one is urg­ing you to jump onto the so­cial me­dia band­wagon and leave your dig­i­tal im­print for all to see? While ex­clu­siv­ity de­mands a de­gree of re­straint and shadow box­ing so as to veer clear of the masses, for many brands, the past year has been about find­ing the bal­ance be­tween what makes them com­fort­ably fa­mil­iar to old faith­fuls and what at­tracts newer, younger con­sumers into their fold by en­gag­ing them dig­i­tally.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port pub­lished by Deloitte, ‘99 mil­lion mil­len­ni­als ver­sus 77 mil­lion boomers now make up a larger seg­ment of the lux­ury mar­ket’. At the same time, the re­port cau­tions one to keep a close eye on the boomers as they are the ones with the cur­rent spend­ing power. So for most brands, the one-size-fits-all ap­proach has been ditched in favour of dig­i­tal pock­ets that of­fer con­sumers vastly dif­fer­ent worlds. With greater dig­i­tal en­gage­ment, we have seen the birth of so­cial in­flu­encers whose lives are on In­sta­gram or other so­cial me­dia, and within sec­onds of post­ing, they garner thou­sands of likes which lead to quick sell­outs of prod­ucts they are en­dors­ing. Re­search by MuseFind, an in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing plat­form, found that ‘92 per cent of con­sumers trust the opin­ion of an in­flu­encer more than an ad­ver­tise­ment or tra­di­tional celebrity en­dorse­ment’.

If we look at some of the top lux­ury brands, it is easy to see how their strate­gies have changed over the past year. For ex­am­ple, the LVMH con­glom­er­ate has em­braced the dig­i­tal world with its classy on­line avatar that has taken shape as a multi-brand on­line shop. It has also launched a

lux­ury and high-tech pro­gramme in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a Parisian in­cu­ba­tor, called Sta­tion F, to take its brand to a new place.

Closer home, the In­dian lux­ury con­sumer is a cu­ri­ous one—skep­ti­cal about in­flu­encers, but keen on be­ing wooed and con­verted. Given that In­dia is such a unique and di­verse mar­ket, we have seen big brands that were map­ping their growth in other parts of Asia now eye the In­dian pie, hun­gry for a slice of suc­cess here. Af­ford­able lux­ury brands like Michael Kors, Coach, Kiehl’s and Bobbi Brown have man­aged to si­dle in and are in a sweet spot even as big­ger brands scram­ble for num­bers that only good qual­ity lux­ury re­tail across mul­ti­ple stores can en­able.

Given this tricky di­ver­sity and the im­pact of eco­nomic poli­cies such as de­mon­eti­sa­tion and a re­stric­tion on how much cash can be spent with­out hav­ing to show your PAN card, the In­dian lux­ury mar­ket is still on an un­sure foot­ing in the short term and re­mains a mar­ket heav­ily in­flu­enced by what peo­ple see and ex­pe­ri­ence over­seas when they travel.

As spend­ing in­creases in the run-up to the busy fes­ti­val sea­son, we get ex­perts to study and chart the rise and fall of lux­ury trends that are mak­ing a dent in In­dia. From an in­de­pen­dent jew­ellery de­signer who chron­i­cles the rise of the anti-trend as con­sumers shun fine jew­ellery in favour of stylish fash­ion jew­ellery to a re­turn to na­ture and au­to­ma­tion as the big trends in the au­toma­tive in­dus­try, to how ar­ti­sanal spir­its are find­ing favour among those seek­ing lux­ury in a glass or fash­ion’s new­est fa­ble, we tell you what’s hot on the lux­ury trail this sea­son. Buy into the chang­ing idea of lux­ury to­day.

SHUTTERSTO­CK

Vel­vet Touch(Top) Con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion is slowly be­ing re­placed by a mix of prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences that count; driver­less cars are likely to be the next big wave in the auto in­dus­try

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.