Sixty-seven years after it became a nation in its own right, India has established itself as the world's next luxury destination with potential yet unrealised completely by the forces that be. And it is to achieve this objective that Quintessentially Lifestyle Services India (QLSI) and GroupM will be jointly organising The Luxury Festival from March 20 to 22 at Delhi's Pragati Maidan next year.
Assisting them in the capacity of trade partner would be the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India's foremost business association. Speaking on the matter at a press briefing organised at Jahanara Hall in New Delhi's Taj Palace Hotel on August 26, QLSI managing director Amit Dutta said that the exponential growth of the Indian luxury market - coupled with the rise of the rich upper-middle class and HNI community - has attracted the attention of global luxury brands across the globe.
"The Indian luxury market is growing at a CAGR of 18% and, therefore, is estimated to reach $15 billion by 2016. Taking this into account, we decided that this would be the right time to launch the Luxury Festival - providing participant brands with the opportunity to network with purveyors of luxury brands, key decision makers as well as influencers in India," he said. And the much-awaited event won't be like your regular trade fair either.
"Here, people won't just move from one stall to the other. We shall have fashion shows that feature the brands and gourmet dinners prepared by Michelin chefs. More than just acquainting the customer with the brands, we will make him experience them!" CVL Srinivas, CEO of GroupM, South Asia, agreed that India is just skimming the surface of its luxury potential. "Given what we have, I think it's the right time for such an event," said Srinivas.
"Today, China stands at $100 bn in the luxury segment, and we are less than a tenth of that. The ad spend for luxury brands here is just 0.5%, as opposed to 8% in China. So, developing this front will definitely help the marketing and advertising ecosystem in the country." The event will see attendance from senior executives of global luxury brands, dignitaries from foreign embassies, media representatives and industry experts.
However, the organisers desisted from providing the list of clients likely to attend the event - stating that it is still a work under progress. Amita Sarkar, deputy director general and head of the Services Council, CII, sees a lot of potential in the country's luxury sector. Remarking that all the indicators in this regard are already glowing vermillion red, she said, "Brand consciousness is rising among the youth, and it's something we have to prepare for. Why, you ask? For one, we are losing out on economic activity to markets in Dubai and Singapore. And this is not right, considering that India has always been known to be the land of luxury, right from the time of the Maharajas." So, what does CII expect from the Luxury Festival?
"We at CII are looking not just at increasing brand visibility, but also bringing about increased interaction between the brands and their target consumers," says Sarkar. QLSI executive director Peter Raj Kapoor, on the other hand, spoke on the need to increase the trust of bespoke brands in the country's trading environment. "The Indian consumer is one of the wealthiest in the world. At the festival, we are looking at showcasing everything from aircraft, jewellery to watches. We intend to provide the consumer with a comfortable platform to interact with the brands, laying a fertile field for the good things to follow."