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~As market reports indicate a consumer shift towards value-driven, expressive and experiential luxury, industry leaders decipher the future of luxury and what the consumer desires~

Luxury was often associated with indulgence and the enjoyment of products that required significant investment. However, consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns have radically transformed, and, as a result, the concept of luxury has evolved. The Luxe Life is a flagship property of Tata CLiQ Luxury that offers an ongoing analysis of India’s ever-evolving luxury market. To understand and discuss the future of luxury and Slow Commerce through the lenses of technology, sustainability, and innovation, Tata CLiQ Luxury, India’s premier luxury lifestyle platform, and HSBC hosted ‘The Luxe Life: Edition 3’ in Mumbai. The event featured an exclusive lineup of sessions in which thought leaders and tastemakers from various industries convened to discuss various themes related to luxury.

One of the event’s power packed sessions was “What India is Consuming: Understanding the New Luxury Customer,” with Sandeep Batra, MD & Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC India; Anita Dongre, Fashion Designer; Abheek Singhi, Senior Partner & Managing Director, BCG; and Veetika Deoras, VP, Brands, Marketing & Sales, IHCL. The panel examined the audience segments driving this shift and how businesses are pivoting to meet their demands using customer data and trends identified both online and offline.

Giving an overview of luxury in India and ever-evolving consumer luxury trends at the event, Mr. Abheek Singhi, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group, said, “The single biggest trend that will define what is happening in India, not only from a luxury perspective but from an overall standpoint, is the rise of women. In 1995, there was a 20% difference in the percentage of girls enrolled in high school versus boys. This changed in 2015, when girls outnumbered boys in terms of enrollment.  If we fast-forward through this, the only thing that will happen is implication in the workplace, employment, and decision-making. The Chinese luxury sector is thriving due to the high proportion of working women. The second trend is sustainability. The top tier of the luxury pyramid says it is concerned, aware, and wants to act on sustainability along with convenience. However, the two are frequently at odds and contradict one other. The third one is the consumer behaviour of the Indians. About 12 years ago, the Indian consumer would have preferred an international brand about two-thirds of the time. Today, the ratio has flipped, with other things being equal to an Indian luxury brand.

Research says that the same consumer, at different points in time, for different needs and occasions, behaves very differently. A woman in her early 30s would love to flaunt a popular luxury brand of bag as her accomplishment, but the prerequisites for purchasing products from other categories are significantly different.In India, the men’s luxury market is just as appealing, if not more so, than the women’s. A man will spend lavishly on luxury products, but the main category on which he will spend is footwear. He will look at the functional aspect of it because he’s wearing them for 10 hours a day and won’t shy away from spending a lot to get the luxe experience”.

Talking about the future of luxury, Anita Dongre, Fashion Designer, said, “I think the biggest trend today is sustainability. Today’s young generation wants to consume things mindfully, and conscious consumption is the future. Over the past few years, a lot of international brands have announced that they are giving up animal fur and going vegan. Future generations will not only consider product quality but will also associate with brands that care about the environment and the ecosystem.”

There is a new India emerging, where people are acquiring new wealth. Luxury these days is not just restricted to products but also assets, and most importantly, digital assets like digital gold and NFTs.

Expressing his opinion about digital income, assets, and the authenticity of brands, Sandeep Batra, MD and Head of Wealth and Personal Banking – HSBC India, said, “Indians today want to participate in the large India growth story. They are global in nature and seek global investment opportunities at all times. It’s a combination of not only protecting what you have but also wanting to thoroughly be a part of broader wealth opportunities around the world. Certain banks are participating in the digital currency. India is actually ahead of the curve in that the pilot has already been conducted. Authenticity will be important, and both banks and luxury brands will play a significant role in ensuring that the brands are trusted and making it a safe ecosystem.”

Over the years, luxury has evolved to a great extent, as people have become more conscious about the environment and sustainability.

Talking about the evolution and the concept of luxury, Veetika Deoras, Vice President, Brands, Marketing & Data – IHCL, said, “Luxury is operating in a very exciting space right now. There was a time when luxury was all about status and symbolism, but now it’s all about the inside out. Luxury today is no longer in the space of greed or guilt; it’s actually moving in a space of tremendous self-expression. The brands of today can’t only be about outward appearance but also about the underlying sense of purpose they embody. That’s where trends like sustainability fit well.”

The panel shared insights into the consumer shift towards value-driven, expressive, experiential luxury. Luxury for today’s consumers stems from self-expression, and brands must recognise this. Putting together a keen sense of commercial nuance and an uncompromising view of convenience, curation, and craftsmanship will give a pristine view of the future luxury customer.

Watch the discussion here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeqXVXMrtKE