Blog General | India
India Emerges as a New Hub for Global Luxury Brands But Challenges Remain
- 1st Dec 2023
India is increasingly being recognized as a significant destination for luxury brands worldwide, as noted by Bénédicte Epinay, CEO of Comité Colbert. Comité Colbert, the official luxury association of France, which represents 93 luxury brands, sees India as a potentially promising market despite challenges such as high custom duties and bureaucratic hurdles.
Epinay, who was present at the first Indo-French luxury symposium in New Delhi, highlighted India's key assets: a consumer base with a refined taste for luxury, an understanding of luxury goods, and a penchant for showcasing wealth.
Epinay observed that in the post-Covid era, there has been a global growth of about 5-10% in the luxury sector, and many brands are looking at India for future expansion. Recent activities like Gucci launching India-specific products and appointing Bollywood star Alia Bhatt as their first Indian global ambassador, as well as Dior hosting a runway show at the Gateway of India, underscore India's rising importance in the global luxury market.
Pushpa Bector, senior executive director at DLF Retail, reported a significant growth in luxury brand sales over the previous year and expressed a desire for more luxury brands to enter the Indian market. She noted the evolving nature of the Indian luxury consumer, particularly among millennials.
However, the market isn't without its challenges, particularly regarding regulations and custom duties. Despite these barriers, Thierry Mathou, the French ambassador to India, expressed optimism during the IFCCI Luxury Symposium, citing India's readiness for luxury expansion, as evidenced by developments like the opening of the Jio mall in Mumbai.
The luxury market in India is also witnessing more brand launches tailored to local tastes. Bulgari introduced the Mangalsutra for Indian consumers, and Jimmy Choo launched a Diwali capsule collection promoted by Bollywood actress Ananya Pandey.
Abhay Gupta, founder and CEO of Luxury Connect, highlighted the dramatic increase in luxury consumption in India. He noted a significant shift from foreign executives to Indian nationals leading luxury brands in the country, exemplified by Indians heading major brands like Audi and Lamborghini.
Gupta also pointed out the influence of the Indian diaspora worldwide and the strategic move of luxury brands in appointing Indian brand ambassadors, leveraging India's vast population, extensive diaspora, and large Gen Z and millennial demographics.
Growing Market Potential: India's emerging status as a luxury market is driven by its growing economy, increasing wealth, and a young, brand-conscious population.
Cultural Integration: Luxury brands are adapting their offerings to cater to Indian tastes and cultural preferences, indicating a deeper understanding and respect for the local market.
Leadership Shift: The transition from expatriate to Indian leadership in luxury brands within India signifies a growing trust in Indian managerial skills and an understanding of the local market.
Challenges Remain: Despite the potential, regulatory and bureaucratic challenges in India still pose significant hurdles for luxury brands.
Global Influence: India's large diaspora and its prominence in sectors like technology and defense are influencing its role in the luxury sector, making it a key player in global luxury trends.