As India's luxury industry expands and aspires, a new angle in the form of e-commerce is putting forward some important questions
By: Sukriti Singh Rao, PR Head, Luxury Quotient
Posted on: June 3, 2015
Luxury e-commerce space in India is at a nascant stage with a lot of potential. But not many new players are entering the field. E-commerce space in India is disorganized, to say the least, with many existing online players taking full advantage of non-existent structured cyber laws, and selling international brands at an exhorbitantly discounted rate, without the brands’ permission, thus diluting their image.
Then there’s the question of counterfeit products, which is considered an implied risk with online purchases, with the consumer bearing the cost.
To circumvent the problem, and still capture the market, many luxury brands and international retailers are now shipping directly to Indian consumers through their own websites, but that approach is often termed illegal by legal experts due to India's unique company law, foreign exchange laws, consumer protection laws and related tax regimes. These key compliances envisaged under Indian laws make it very difficult for brands to do business legally in India, unless they are really shipping big numbers to justify incorporating a local entity in the country.
Luxury products and services is a $14 billion market in India and is growing 30 per cent annually, according to a recent report from consultancy KPMG and India's Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry. More than 70 per cent of Indian consumers want to shop for luxury products in India rather than abroad, according to the report. This leads to another question: why can’t India open a Macy’s or a Neiman Marcus or something in between? Why is the concept of a multi brand department store not a success in India? Why did Debenhams fail to succeed?
Existing multi-brand stores such as The Collective and Kitsch are defining the Indian luxury industry in their own way. But adding to the repertoire is Luxury Quotient, a new player in the Indian e-commerce space, representing close to 30 international luxury brands catering to discerning Indians consumers in all possible segments.
Many online portals started with the promise of selling luxury in a way which highlights their heritage and exclusivity, but they all failed Considering the fact that the Indian local market lacks direct access to most global luxury brands and their latest collections. Luxury Quotient seems to be a welcome addition to the Indian luxury scene with its only full price online portal offering no discounts, and pure, unadulterated luxury. Luxury Quotient also has multi-brand brick and mortar boutiques.
It remains to be seen how Luxury Quotient will play out its cards, and make an impact in the lives of luxury consumers. At the moment, however, let’s celebrate the silver lining in an otherwise obstacle-ridden Indian luxury industry.
Sukriti Singh Rao is a PR Professional with eight years of experience. From having done PR for mass brands like Red Tape and Saregama to luxury brands like Chopard, Piaget and Moet Hennessy, she has been there, done that and had a blast doing it. Talking and making friends come naturally to her, so the decision to get into PR was a no-brainer. She is currently heading PR for two start ups – Luxury Quotient and NYC.PIE (her own brand).