Founder and CEO of Luxury Connect Business, Abhay Gupta’s book, The Incredible Indian Luxury Bazaar, is a great starting point for all those who want to enter the Indian luxury business.
Abhay Gupta, 62, Founder and CEO of Luxury Connect and Luxury Connect Business School has been closely associated with the Indian luxury business for three decades now. He has put together all his learnings and experiences in his book The Incredible Indian Luxury Bazaar. Its hard copy will be launched in July. Right now, the 225-page e-book is available on Amazon.
How would you describe your book?
The book puts together many facts and pieces on luxury in India, from recent times to about a century ago. That time of the world wars was also the time when India was one of the biggest consumers of some of the luxury brands. Then there is a large section on the present luxury industry in which I talk about the key players from every sector – hospitality, automobile and fashion. The book also discusses the future of luxury based on an economic model created round the statement made by Amitabh Kant (CEO, NITI Aayog) in 2016 at a luxury conference. He had said that the Indian luxury industry has the potential to touch the $180 billion mark by 2025. I simply built an economic model around the urbanisation of tier-I, tier-II cities, the rapid growth of HNIs, start-ups and FDIs coming in. Then there is also a large section on Indian consumers, whom I’ve studied closely in my 30-year journey in the Indian luxury space. It includes a research paper done by me called the Incredible Indian luxury Consumer in which we have described the various kinds of consumers, their behaviour and what they want from luxury brands. There’s a chapter on the challenges of the luxury industry and how can a brand circumvent those challenges and face them head-on. And finally, there is a section on the success model.
If a new brand wants to come to India, what kind f model should it adopt to be successful. Additionally, I also had to get into this whole research on the effects of Coronavirus. By the time the printed copies were ready, the virus hit us hard. We planned extensive research, did a quantitative survey and reached out to about 175 odd people in the luxury business, ranging from front-end managers to middle-managers, and compiled an e-book called Coronavirus and its impact on Indian luxury. We also hosted a webinar on the same along with a series of podcasts called Luxe Talks, which are about 45 minutes to one-hour long conversations in an interview format with people from various
sectors like jewellery, business, hospitality, travel, etc.
What made you write this book?
Luxury Connect, a knowledge-based company, is eight-years-old, but my journey in the space goes back to the year 1990. That’s when (luxury) brands were coming in, NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) was being planned and that’s also when my involvement with this space began. You could say that, perhaps, I’m the oldest living professional in this business. My journey has been extensive and I’ve mentored many kids in this business, who now work at different positions in the market.
Our connections help us collate authentic information, which is otherwise a challenging task as luxury is a very private business and it’s not possible for a research agency to knock on a brand manager’s door and ask him for information. No one’s going to give it. In 2012, when I established my business I also took to content marketing. I used to share my experiences in various articles. Soon, I started getting requests from many editors to create customised content for them. This made me realise that at some point in time, I must consolidate all the information in a book.
Who is the book targeted to?
My primary target audience is the luxury brands wanting to enter the Indian market. Many companies usually find it hard to start operations here as we don’t have any kind of structured information for these brands. Nobody in India is creating data specifically for the luxury market, which means there’s a lot of generic consumer data available, but the authenticity of that data is questionable. So, these international brands are my target audience number one. Target audience number 2 is an Indian brand or an Indian start-up wanting to position itself as a true, global luxury brand. Our fashion schools are not producing business managers. We don’t have a real, true luxury brand. What we have is a Rohit Bal and a Tarun Tahiliani, but they are not in the running with leading international fashion brands. That clearly shows us that ‘good branding’ is a challenge in the Indian arena. My third target audience is Indian and International education organisations that want to teach luxury and fashion. And, of course, the fourth and smaller part of the target audience is people who want to make a career in the Indian luxury space. Every day, I meet students who don’t understand the luxury business in India or luxury brand management.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury, in my opinion, is a mindset. It’s about what you think, and that is very subjective.
For me, when I’m at peace and am able to do something that I really love, that is luxury.