Global luxury brands knock at India gate | Mint

Global luxury brands knock at India gate

Italian firm Golden Goose will start a store at The Chanakya luxury mall in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri. (Bloomberg)
Italian firm Golden Goose will start a store at The Chanakya luxury mall in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri. (Bloomberg)

Summary

  • Dolce & Gabbana of Italy plans to start its Indian journey with private appointments in December, to be followed by full-fledged stores in Delhi and Mumbai

New Delhi: Global luxury brands spanning apparel, cosmetics and accessories are gunning for the Indian market, at a time malls dedicated for the uber-rich are sprouting across the country. According to multiple industry executives, a dozen luxury brands are close to opening their first India stores, or looking to scale up their presence in the country.

Dolce & Gabbana of Italy plans to start its Indian journey with private appointments in December, to be followed by full-fledged stores in Delhi and Mumbai, while rival Italian firm Golden Goose will start with a store at The Chanakya, a luxury mall in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, the people cited above said on the condition of anonymity. French luxury firms S.T. Dupont and Jacquemus are also weighing an India entry, while Spain’s Balenciaga is working on its first store in Mumbai. Loro Piana, owned by French luxury firm LVMH, is said to be making a comeback, after having exited the country earlier.

“India has very many markets beyond the big cities. I can say with confidence that all the luxury companies in France are thinking of India in a serious way," said Bénédicte Epinay, CEO of Comité Colbert, France’s official luxury association representing 95 of the world’s top luxury brands. “Maybe these brands may expand their stores in big cities and take a digital approach [to smaller cities] to begin with but later will start to go to the smaller cities with a lot of wealth once the bigger city markets become better developed. India has a big advantage with smartphone penetration," Epinay said.

On Wednesday, Aditya Birla Fashion formed a joint venture with French footwear brand Christian Louboutin for the Indian market, with both partners holding equal stake. Louboutin was already present in India, but as an independent company.

Brioni, an Italian menswear brand, last month launched its first store in India through local partner DS Luxury, a part of tobacco-to-spices major Dharampal Satyapal Ltd. French department store Galeries Lafayette last year announced its plans to come to India, and will begin operations in Mumbai in 2024 and DLF Ltd’s Emporio mall in Delhi in 2025. Last week, France’s SMCP, the parent company of accessible luxury brands Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot and Fursac, also announced its entry into the Indian market in partnership with Reliance Industries-owned Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL).

In a sign of growing appetite for luxury goods in India, Emporio is looking to add new outlets and is in talks with multiple European brands. “We are looking at 6-7 uber luxury openings at Emporio and our other mall, The Chanakya, over the next six months," Pushpa Bector, DLF’s senior executive director for the retail division, said. In terms of rental structure, the Gurugram-based developer will continue to follow the minimum guarantee and revenue-sharing approach with retail partners, she added.

In past month alone, two new malls dedicated to luxury were launched, including Mumbai’s Jio World Plaza and the Phoenix Mall of Asia in Bengaluru. “India is experiencing an economic growth with which a cultural shift is happening. The country’s luxury market is projected to grow three times over the next seven years. I see huge potential and am opening stores across markets," said Gaurav Gupta, a designer. “One would be surprised at the kind of couture being consumed in the country. Big conglomerates are taking India’s luxury very seriously now, and that is a big sign of development."

Global luxury brands are also increasingly turning to local collaborations and capsule collections, trying to make inroads into a burgeoning market. “It’s about showing the world that they’re invested in India," said Raahuul Kapoor, founding partner of Luxury Ampersand Frolics. His company brings haute luxury brands’ products to the Indian market. India’s rapidly-growing class of ultra-rich individuals are hungry for luxury and this, Kapoor predicts, will mean that a large part of the luxury business revenues in India will come from bridge-to-luxury brands.

Bridge-to-luxury brands help consumers experience luxury without having to shell out a hefty price associated with top-of-the-league high-fashion brands.

Homegrown designers are also looking to capitalize on the country’s burgeoning market for luxury goods. Couturier Rahul Mishra recently added two stores in Delhi and Mumbai and has three lined up over the next few months—one in Mumbai’s Jio World Plaza, another in Delhi’s Mehrauli, and a third in Hyderabad.

India’s luxury goods market is among the world’s fastest-growing, and is projected to reach $8.5 billion in 2023, rising by $2.5 billion from 2021, according to a Euromonitor International report.

A Bain & Co. study, released in January this year, forecast India’s luxury market to swell 3.5 times its current size by 2030, driven by rising prosperity on the back of a rapid economic growth.

India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and its GDP expanded by a consensus-beating 7.6% in the July-September quarter. US-based rating agency S&P Global, in its report released on 5 December, said India will continue to grow at a rapid pace to become the third-largest economy by 2030.

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