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HT Luxury Conference 2006: ‘Luxury goods are no longer luxury, but a necessity’

16-January-2006
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HT Luxury Conference 2006: ‘Luxury goods are no longer luxury, but a necessity’

The two-day HT Luxury Conference culminated with speakers voicing their opinion on the need for more exposure of luxury products in India’s consumer market and felt that more retail space and more consumer awareness would open up demand.

The panel discussion on ‘The Future of Luxury Goods in India’, highlighted the point that luxury goods are no longer a luxury. With Indian retail taking rapid strides, the need for specialty stores is also seeing a lot of demand. Further, with entrepreneurs also eying a huge opportunity, there are several segments of luxury opening up, from retail outlets to designing specialised jewellery for markets abroad. Space is one of the quintessential aspects for opening up retail outlets and this has drawn the attention of retail biggies such as the DLF Group, a leading name in the Indian retail industry.

Speaking at the session, Tarun Tahiliani, one of India’s leading fashion designers, said, “The age group of the customers that we target are in the range of 15-50 year and they are aware of the latest trends. The key to success in the Indian market is getting the right fusion of ethnic and western wear satiable to the Indian palate.”

Referring to Viren Bhagat, a Mumbai-based jeweller, Tahiliani said, “We are catering to the markets abroad and crafting jewellery designs out of India that are at par with the best in the world. Jewellery in India is no longer looked upon merely as an investment option.”

Talking on ‘Developing India as a World Class Supply Base for Luxury Houses’, Sunil Sethi, CEO, Alliance Merchandising Company, asserted that India no longer had to convince anybody as brand India had established itself and the country had also developed as a good manufacturing and supply base.

In a talk on building and managing luxury brands, Raymond Bickson and Andrew Thomas, MD, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, stressed that luxury was not just material, it was emotional and experiential. It is only in an emerging market with people just getting used to having a discretionary income that a brand is purely material and is used to demonstrate to the world that the person has arrived. But very quickly, this moves to the enjoyment of using a finely crafted leather bag or a beautifully cut dress.

Addressing the session on ‘Luxury and Design’, Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo, MD, Charme Investments and VC, Poltrona Frau Group, an Italian luxury furnishings portfolio, elaborated on the relationship between design and lifestyle.

Speaking on the ‘Role of media in building luxury brands’ in the last session, Nicholas Coleridge, Managing Director, Conde Nast-UK, and Vice-president, Conde Nast International, said that the media played a pivotal and sometimes even a decisive role in inducing a customer to buy a particular brand.

“We live in a universe of luxury brands and the media, particularly the glossy magazines, help making purchase decisions for buyers. The media today has to reach out and identify customers among the 4.6 billion adults in the world to find out those who have enough money to spend on international luxury brands,” said Coleridge.

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