New affluents redefine luxury market segment

24 Jul,2013

By A Correspondent


L to R: Roger Darasha, Harish Bijoor, A.Harikesh, Sandeep Trivedi and Bino Paul

India’s rapid advance from an emerging to a developed economy has given rise to a new breed of luxury consumers, a highly opinionated and demanding set of consumers, which is heavily influenced by global tastes and beliefs. New affluents, while retaining a distinctly Indian identity, are redefining the market, taking marketers by storm, concluded a roundtable discussion organized by Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd in Bengaluru last week.


According to the Boston Consulting Group, the numbers of affluent class are around 13 million households in India. Among affluent households, education and occupation help define consumption patterns and attitudes, creating two distinct segments: New and Traditional. The recent emergence of the affluent class in India highlights this demographic group’s obsession with the love for technology, high living and new-age affluence – in a nutshell, an opulent lifestyle. This has led to conversation amongst manufacturers and marketers on who these ‘affluents’ are and why their consumption habits are of relevance to India.


According to the panel, the new affluents will “not simply mimic western spending patterns but retain distinctly Indian characteristics, a type of jugaad that marries affluence with aspirations, with a strong focus on the former.”


The discussion had A Harikesh, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales – Tata Housing playing host with Harish Bijoor, Business Strategy Specialist and CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, Bino Paul, Professor and Chairperson at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Sandeep Trivedi, Director, Growth Market at Cushman & Wakefield in attendance.


Speaking at the roundtable, Mr Harikesh said, “New affluents are the ones driving the realty market today. They are ambitious and aspire to live a life of sheer luxury. They have the advantage of having both good education and as well successful careers. Most have travelled internationally and have lived abroad, a life they now want in their own home town as well.”


Mr Bijoor, said, “In the marketing sector, we have changed the way offerings are assessed, while at the same time delving deep into the buying psychology of affluent consumers. For new affluents, products should flaunt their value and brand name always trumps affordability.”


Social researcher Mr Paul commented on the societal change saying, “New affluents are pivotal in transforming urban agglomerations into global cities whose steadfast longing for novelty and structural changes forms potent base for new ideas, products, markets, spaces and socialization milieus. They seem to be different from conventional Indian middle class, in assimilating dynamic contexts that are enmeshed in social-spatial-economic-cultural changes.”


According to Mr Trivedi, the growing working population of people in the age ground of 27-45 is the “primary reason for this change”. “The age of a homebuyer has drastically decreased over the years. Today, the average age of a first home buyer is in the age bracket of 28-32 years. This trend has transformed the residential market and created a niche within,” he said.


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