Mumbai: Abheek Singhi, Asia luxury head, Boston Consulting Group, held a session on the Indian luxury market and why it matters. The session was chaired by Anil Padmanabhan, deputy managing editor of Mint. While the speaker before Singhi, minister of state for industry and commerce Nirmala Sitharaman pegged the Indian luxury market at $6 billion, Sanghi estimated it at $24 billion. The difference he said lay in distinguishing between Indian consumers of luxury and Indian consumers of luxury in India. Singhi laid out some trends researched by his international strategy and management consulting firm.

The consumer, he said, is changing: Not only is the demographic growing younger, they are also no longer embarrassed by owning luxury. What’s more, while consumption of luxury ranges from aspirational to experiential, he said luxury has become less about owning and more about being.

Another significant trend, he said, is that this democratization of luxury is driven by increased media exposure and increased global travel. Luxury growth in India is being seen in jewellery, perfumes and handbags, besides assets like technology and cars, and experiences like exotic vacations.

Democratization, said Singhi, or “going mass," is the only way that India can catch up with China in terms of production and per capita consumption. “India’s per capita consumption lags behind China by seven years. We found that the more mass we go, the less the gap becomes. For instance, the cellphone market lags China by three years while the premium car market lags by 10-12 years," he said.

The big challenge for Indians is to build the brand beyond owners; Make for India is important, but we also need to allow the outside in, Singhi said. “Make for India hasn’t caught the imagination of the consumer, who knows what is happening globally and doesn’t want to be patronized."