India is one of the four largest emerging economies (in addition to Brazil, China and Russia) and is expected to surpass China to be the world’s most populated country in the coming decade. With its count of High Net-Worth Individuals more than doubling in the past year (according to the World Wealth Report recently released by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management), there is certainly plenty of potential consumers for a variety of products and services.
Luxury brands are relatively well established in India; its first two luxury malls opened in 2008 – DLF Emporio in Delhi and UB City in Bangalore. Although welcomed by luxury retailers at the time, allowing them to expand out of the five-star hotels where they had traditionally confined themselves, in recent months the lack of appropriate retail space for luxury brands has become an issue. This is further compounded by soaring rental prices on what is available, meaning rents are far beyond what brands are willing to pay.
According to a report by international real estate consulting firm Cushman and Wakefield, rentals in the country’s high streets have gone up considerably – by as much as 15 per cent in some of the markets.
This appears to be driving a trend among luxury brands in India, with many switching to home delivery services for their high-end clients, in some cases even arranging personal fashion shows for their select few. Brands such as Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jimmy Choo are going out of their way to send a range of items for display at the client’s home.
Such a service may suit Lambda personality types who seek freedom in where and how they shop, but for Thetas who prefer context and consensus, the service may not be so appealing given it lacks engagement with like-minded shoppers and the all encompassing brand experience usually achieved through visiting a store.