Not too long ago, I wrote about the basics of Luxury Marketing in general (Read the article here). But some of my recent observations have forced me to believe that India as a nation has redefined luxury marketing in a pretty radical way.
1. OMEGA and TISSOT watches – small print ads right on the mastheads of Times of India, day-in and day-out, as well as quarter page ads about the same inside. These luxury watches have been heavily advertising in a mass reach, non-exclusive media vehicle – generally considered taboo in the segment
2. Louis philippe sale – Season-end sales! that too in luxury brands like Louis Philippe, to the tune of 40%!! – Unheard of!
These were two trends which were being bucked by not just these, but by many luxury brands. Something which is rare in the western developed economies is becoming commonplace here in our motherland! Let’s think about the Whys in this case.
I read in a paper on luxury marketing (referenced at the end) that luxury products/services maintain a ‘distance’ from the consumer, to bring in a feeling of exclusivity for themselves. This distance can be either financial or cultural/intellectual.
In my opinion, the ‘financial distance‘ aspect is reducing in our country. Some facets of the same:
1. Call Centres and BPOs –
Young men and women are earning loads in these call centres, hence carry extra disposable income which they splurge on luxury products. This takes out luxury from the niche of the aristocratic elite and puts it into the masses of young generation.
2. General increase in consumer confidence and disposable incomes –
Overall, India is enjoying an increase in disposable income of consumers, with a high consumer confidence index. This makes even the middle class a target customer for the luxuries, a class which is burgeoning and becoming more and more affluent by the day. The growing economy is putting more money in their pockets, which they are more than happy to spend on that classy jacket or the heavenly perfume!
3. Youth Proportion
With national median age at 25 years, the youth are bound to be consumption drivers. And luxuries, with their bling proposition, become the obvious choice to flaunt. The young generation buys luxury with the intent of showing off, and attracting them is fast becoming a priority for many brands.
Coming to the elite few, it is important to understand that even the rich in this country are dominated by the first- and second- generation rich, those who have made it big post liberalization and in stock markets (the ancestral rich are a diminishing proportion of the upper class).
And the first- and second-generation rich are still in the traditional Indian mindset of getting Value-for-Money. Therefore, they are enticed by utility/functionality of the product, and that it is available at lower costs. (Remember, the Indian woman still seeks the thrill of making a ‘steal’ bargain!)
These are factors due to which financial distance is less useful as the exclusivity-separator. This leads to lowering of walls a bit, putting out mass media ads and launching sales.
The exclusivity is now being generated more on the cultural/intellectual front, showcasing qualities such as franco-italian origins (for apparel), fine craftsmanship (for leatherware) etc.
Here’s to our country and the populace, which has changed the very tenets of marketing, pulling down the luxury marketers from their ivory towers. Cheers!
Ref: An excellent article on Luxury Marketing and the ‘distances’ that need to be maintained: