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Patriotism aids Indian luxury brands

News, 02 September 2015

NEW DELHI: Even though India's luxury market is booming, driven by a growing middle class and the super-wealthy, India's homegrown luxury brands have found they have to be imaginative to win over domestic consumers.

According to a report by the BBC, India struggles to produce luxury brands capable of matching the appeal of international brands because India's wealthy prefer the status conferred by foreign brands, ranging from Gucci to Burberry.

This also applies to the auto industry where the Jaguar marque appeals because of its British association despite being owned by Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate.

India does have some success in the luxury market, such as the global hotel chains Taj and Oberoi, and Indian firms also dominate the jewellery category, but Indian luxury brands in the main are not flourishing, the report said.

This is despite high levels of disposable income among the country's rich, which has prompted a number of India's luxury brands to work up new strategies.

Appealing to Indian patriotism is one option which has worked for No.3 Clive Road, the boutique tea brand founded by Radhika Chopra.

"Our customer is someone who is proud of a beautifully designed and quality product that is Indian made," Chopra said. "Indians know how to spend money, they just have not been given other options," she added.

Pitching a luxury product at the right price and appealing to Indians' instinct for good value are also key to success, Chopra advised.

"We are much more sensitive to our customers' purchasing power for a local brand, so as we expand we are acknowledging a lower price than comparable companies abroad," she said.

Nikhil Agarwal, chief executive of luxury events firm All Things Nice, agreed that identifying the right price is essential to win over Indian luxury shoppers.

"Even wealthy Indians are conscious about money – nobody throws their money away, it's in the psyche," he said. "Indians like to reduce costs, we're always looking for value for money even when it's luxury."

Data sourced from BBC; additional content by Warc staff