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Local luxury brands still rule the roost
Hindustan Times - 24 Sep 2007

Global luxury goods makers may be betting big on India, but Indians would rather go for a home grown brand than a foreign one when it comes to splurging on luxury.

In comparison, China and Russia — the two other emerging markets where the luxury brands are seeing a huge market potential — have a stronger affinity to foreign brands, according to a new survey conducted by US-based Time magazine.

Interestingly, it is the men-focussed products, that too in the apparel segment, that come on the top among luxury brands in India, with Indian women still preferring the traditional saree, the survey found.

Four out of the five most familiar brands in the minds of young Indians — Park Avenue, Allen Solly, Reid and Taylor and Wills Lifestyle — are domestic menswear labels. Swiss watch Rolex is the only foreign brand that makes it to the top five luxury brands in India, the Time magazine said.

It predicts that the luxury market in the country could grow by 25 per cent annually over the next three years.

In China, foreign brands like Chanel, Lacoste and Dior rank in the top five with highest level of recognition, while affluent customers in Russia have the greatest awareness of foreign luxury brands as its market is more developed and European in nature."

The best known brands in Russia are Versace and Dior, while consumers are also loyal to two local talents like Vyacheslav Zaitsev and Valentin Yudashkin.

"With the Indian women's preference for the traditional saree, menswear brands are more well known." Shirts in India are considered outerwear and brands like Park Avenue and Allen Solly are well-known shirtmakers, the magazine said.

In India, 58 per cent prefer high quality, 55 per cent go for high reputation of the brand and 50 per cent stress on high fashion. While in Russia, 53 per cent consumers prefer high quality, the same number go for high reputation and 44 per cent choose high fashion, the study found.

Fragrance is the most popular purchase both in Russia and India, where anything from foreign labels to local or custom-made scent rules the roost. In Russia, however, people buy fragrance because of the reputation of the brand. Skin care is the most preferred purchase by the Chinese.

As for American brands, Indians are more interested in owning Calvin Klein, while the Russians are interested to own something of Tiffany, the study says.