The world is eyeing the pockets of cash rich Indian consumers like never before. And why not, the pace at which India is changing has to be seen to be believed. Even in a tier II city like Pune, you can see luxury cars (costing more than Rs. 50 lakh each) plying the roads in abundance.
The younger generation is also getting quite hip. If you pass by any college – one look at students will give you a glimpse of how savvy they are getting about fashion. The clothes and accessories they sport are straight from the ramp !
That’s exactly why Giorgio Armani has become the latest of a horde of high-end brands to target India’s growing appetite for luxury goods. The Italian group will take a 51 per cent stake in a joint venture with DLF, the Indian property developer – the biggest presence it is allowed in the country under regulations.
The first Armani outlet will be opened at a new “super luxury mall” being built by DLF, which also has a partnership with Dolce & Gabbana, in New Delhi. By the end of the year, Armani expects to have around five stores across the subcontinent.
The outfitter is far from the only luxury brand to have designs on India, a country where three quarters of the population live on less than 25p a day. Last week, week Stella McCartney, the designer, unveiled plans for six stores across India – a bet on Bangalore’s fashionistas matching the profligacy of their peers in LA and Moscow. On Saturday, the chief executive of Harvey Nichols confirmed that he is looking at bringing his chain here.In the world of luxury retail, the globe’s centre of gravity is shifting east.
India will spend about Â£2 billion on luxury goods this year, according to AK Kearney, the management consultants, a number expected to hit Â£15 billion in 2015. There is already plenty of cash to be frittered away. Forbes magazine says that India sprouted 19 new dollar billionaires last year. It now has 54 – more than Japan for the first time. A report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, showed that the ranks of Asia’s “super rich” – those worth more than $30 million – grew by 12 per cent in 2006, to about 17,500.
Why Armani, even the super expensive and super luxurious Ferrari is leaving no stone unturned to woo Indian consumers and for that reason they have gone ahead and sent out two reinforced 612 Scaglietti supercars to tour the sub-continent’s potholed highways to showcase the marque. The tour will be called Magic India Discovery Drive which will cover a route stretching more than 13,000 kilometers and touch 57 cities over 74 days.
It will be a treat watching Ferrari running on Indian roads. It is rather brave on Ferrari’s part to send these 2 Ferraris on a 13,000 km Indian roads !