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Luxury inc sees India as the next big destination

India matters, and all over the world, luxury brands are looking at India, says Benedicte Epinay, CEO of Comite Colbert, the official luxury association of France that represents 93 luxury brands and behemoths such as LVMH, Chanel and Kering.

“Is India the next promising market? There are obstacles such as custom duties and the bureaucracy, but it probably is, because you have all the ingredients,” Epinay told ET. “You have the consumers, you have the appetite for refinement, you have the taste to understand luxury, and you have the passion to show off.”

She was here for the first Indo-French luxury symposium, or ‘IFCCI Luxury Symposium’, held in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“Post Covid, we are back to a new normal. Brands are seeing a growth of about 5-10% globally, which is why a lot of them are banking on India for their future growth prospects,” Epinay said.

From Gucci’s India specific launches at the Jio World Plaza mall and its signing up of Bollywood star Alia Bhatt as the first Indian global ambassador to the Gateway of India becoming a Dior runway this year, India is the place to be for global luxury brands and the next key frontier, industry insiders say.

“Sales of luxury brands have grown in double digits this year for us compared to last year,” said Pushpa Bector, senior executive director at DLF Retail. “We want more luxury brands to come to India. The good part is millennials have started shopping for luxury. It’s an evolved customer that we are seeing today and the time for luxury has come in this country,” she added.But, challenges around regulations and custom duties remain.

The Indian market might not be the easiest to access, but India is definitely the place to be, Thierry Mathou, ambassador of France to India, said at the IFCCI Luxury Symposium.

“We are living in the moment of India. What is true for technology, defence, and many other sectors is also true for luxury. Brands such as Dior, LVMH, Hermes, Cartier and Chanel have launched initiatives with India as a focus,” he said.

Uzma Irfan, corporate communications director at Prestige Group, which operates UB City Mall in Bengaluru, said more brands are coming into the country. She also manages operations and leasing for the mall.

Bulgari launched the Mangalsutra for Indian consumers, while Jimmy Choo had a Diwali capsule collection promoted through a campaign featuring Bollywood actress Ananya Pandey this year.

Abhay Gupta, founder and CEO of Luxury Connect, a firm that offers services on strategy, advisory, sourcing and skilling to luxury brands, said the momentum for luxury consumption has picked up “dramatically”.

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