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- 2 Feb 2010
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Tangerine Dreams

Harish Chandra, country manager for BinHendi Fashions Private Limited, chronicles how the “new age Indian” has become a marketing force to be reckoned with.

India and Luxury have been synonymous for long, right from the age of Maharajas. Nearly 25 percent of global Brioni customers, for instance, are Indians. These are numbers and facts that every brand in the world hears when they think of India.

But, today, we speak of a New Young India, where luxurious brands – from Louis Vuitton to Hermes – woo a customer profile starting from 20 and where tH cult of luxury is no more the money you have in your banks but the lifestyle you lead. The luxury market, once seen as the vanguard of royalty, now has a new look – young entrepreneurs and aspiring middle-class families with high disposable incomes, discerning with their tastes for luxury, ranging from lifestyle products to fashion brands. The New India has now become the hub for opportunities, challenges and the base for luxury to seep.

The penchant and quest for good living has always been there in the minds of the Indians. It, however, took some time for the New Age Indians to lap in luxury and flaunt the richness to the western world. Blame it on the young innovative Indian who took up this challenge to show the world what they were capable of in different fields from IT to Science and Technology.

According to Retail consultant Technopak, 1.8 million households in India earn $100,000 or more a year, and spend a tenth of that on luxury goods. This accrues to potential market of $18-billion, and which is expected to rise to $56-billion by 2012, assuming the global financial crisis does not destabilize the Indian market to a greater extent.

I remember the time when Hugo Boss entered the market. It was seen that our target clientele was the 35+ individual who had already achieved at least 80 percent of his dreams, which contributed to just 20 percent of his spending power. It was more close to reality in 2006, when the customer base shifted from 35+ to the 20+ discerning individual who was still entering the corporate world but was ready to shell out a few thousands for something he/she would look good on.

Luxury products gave these Indians a sense of pleasure, pride and exclusivity. However, they never had a feeling of déjà vu. It was because they were still in the midst of the corporate struggle and had miles to go in achieving their dreams.

Integrated marketing techniques have now focused on these aspiring individuals, as they contribute to a wider potential base. This New Age Young Indian is more poised about his/her appearance and where they dine. The Page-3 crowd was more of young Indians who did business from 10a.m. to 6 p.m., and then partied till the wee hours.

The emerging middle-class, with its taste for fine products and quality life, no more looked into US and UK for job opportunities. In fact, they dreamed of making it big in India! This educated class, widely travelled, was keener on accomplishing tasks that were never seen before nor dared before. In fact, Young India was looked up in awe by the West.

Today, we see these charming, successful men and women dressed from top to bottom in designer wear, owning their yachts and jets and attending meetings at different times at different parts of the world. Gucci belts, LV bags, Hermes Ties, Boss suits, Ferragamo shoes and Rolex watches were no more seen as desirable pieces of luxury. They were the actual reality.

These Young customers were always updated about the latest trends, took their annual vacation at Bahamas and drove their 7-series straight out of the garage. They were no more ‘chasing Harry Winston’. They were in the midst of luxury. India actually presented itself as a huge market for these luxury brands. In fact, the ambassadors for Brand India were these New Age successful Young Indians.

Indian customers have started to make an impact in the luxury world with their splurges. However the best part of this equation is that they still do not follow blindly on any facet. This is one important factor that luxury marketers need to keep in their mind when serving the Indian customers.

And, if that is considered, then India is a diamond mine, waiting to be explored.

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Harish Chandra, Country Manager, BinHendi Fashions Private Limited

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BinHendi Fashions Private Limited is a subsidiary of BinHendi, the UAE-based franchise partner and retail operator for brands such as BOSS Hugo Boss, Brioni, Cerruti 1881, Vitra, Porsche Design and B&B Italia across markets in the GCC and South Asia.

www.binhendi.com