The era of start-ups pulling all strings to offer “discounts” is passé. It’s about premium offerings and “affordable luxury”.
Entrepreneurs acknowledge that buyers don’t always seek discounts. Top-class products and services and those carrying a premium, drive buying decisions for many. Albeit a niche segment within the wave of consumers eyeing discounts, the demand for premium is growing steadily. An Assocham report says the luxury market in India will reach $30 billion by 2018 end, from about $23.8 billion in the previous year. This surge is steered by growing disposable income levels, exposure to international brands and an aspiration to own products of high value.
Mirroring the growth of the luxury market are a clutch of new-age startups in segments as diverse as décor, floral design and home delivery, carving a space by being distinct in their offerings. These startups neither believe in slashing prices, nor finding ways to appease masses. Instead of volume, they vouch by value growth. Sandeep Das, co-founder and CEO of Scootsy, a delivery app for premium products, says while a whole segment is keen on discounts, there are those that seek premium products. “Millennials are more discerning and value any offering that saves time.”
We believe in selling great products and an unparalleled shopping experience, not discounts, says Avik Bhattacharya, director, sales and marketing, The White Teak Company, a leading decorative lighting retailer. Bhattacharya says they aim to offer affordable luxury to the Indian market. “We value customers more than profit margins. We don’t believe in hiking our prices and then putting them up for a sale, a common trend today observed with online retailers and marketplaces.”
According to Keerti Reddy, founder, OneRoze, a luxury floral brand, the presence of a mass market does not in any way stunt growth for the luxury segment. Reddy believes that a mass market is important for premium suppliers. “There is a high chance for millennials to shop at a local market that provides flowers for a cheaper rate and coupon discounts. Yet there are those who choose a brand like us,” says Reddy. A premium rose from OneRoze can cost even a couple of thousands, due to the ‘’unique production and preservation techniques involved. Our product designs, packaging, customer service interactions and messaging is based on the concept of luxury. ’’
The entrepreneurs believe they are disrupting their respective segments and that disruptors do not need discounts.
The home decorative lighting market in India is primarily unorganised and generally centred around track lights, downlights, spotlights, recessed and false ceiling lights that are more functional in nature, says Bhattacharya. “Decorative lighting as we see it comprises of chandeliers, floor lamps, pendant lights, hanging lights and wall light fixture. Basically they are pieces of art to adorn any home. And there is a vacuum in the market and a huge need for an organised brand having contemporary designs.”
Scootsy, which was recently acquired by Swiggy, delivers ‘’quirky’’ brands and was the first to start deliveries of food from 5-star hotels in Mumbai. Das says Scootsy is witnessing 25-30% growth, will expand within Mumbai and introduce more value-based services.
Eyeing expansion at a steady pace, The White Teak Company is planning to open stores across India in the next two years. ‘’We currently sell through our stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and also online,” says Bhattacharya.
OneRoze has expanded its product portfolio from premium roses to carnations, lilies, hydrangeas that are retailed through its stores in Hyderabad and Bangalore. “We are planning to expand to Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai and other cities by this year-end. We have a consistent growth rate of 22% month on month, which doubles during festive occasions,’’ says Reddy.
TAPPING DEEP POCKETS
- An Asshocham report says the luxury market in India will reach $30 billion by 2018 end from $23.8 billion in the previous year
- This surge is steered by growing disposable income levels, exposure to international brands and an aspiration to own products of high value
- Entrepreneurs acknowledge that buyers don’t always seek discounts. Albeit a niche segment within the wave of consumers eyeing discounts, the demand for premium is growing steadily