Indian luxury watch buyers are highly price sensitive

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2014, 12:25 PM IST

Sharjeel Khan, Director, Zimson Times Pvt. Ltd believes that Indian luxury watch buyers are highly price sensitive.

Here are the excerpts of his interview with Anita Khatri of Zee Media.

1. In the last 3-5 years, has the Indian luxury watch consumer evolved? If so, how and why?

The Indian luxury watch consumer has definitely evolved largely due to the increase in high disposable income, lifestyle standards, accessibility and availability of luxury brands in the country (watches and other products). Consumers are more familiar with brands now, because of brand marketing and promotions. We, as retailers, have also been educating the consumers. Now, there is a greater level of acceptance of luxury brands as compared to the earlier years. Consumers have also been travelling extensively and because of the high visibility of luxury brands in the neighbouring countries (Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc), consumers are showing more confidence while buying luxury brands.

2. Is there a change in the gender category or age category of the luxury watch consumer making demands?

Not much has changed in the gender category (especially in South India), but there is a slight improvement. Even today, majority of the luxury watch consumers are men. In South India, women still prefer jewellery and other accessories over watches. The age category, however, has seen a huge expansion. The youth form a large part of the luxury watch consumers. We have seen a lot of young men (even college-goers), who indulge in luxury watches. Today, the target age of luxury watch consumers is
20-50 years.

3. The Indian watch retail industry seems to be evolving. Your comment.

Yes, the industry seems to be growing at an average rate of about 20-25% every year. One reason is that the base is very small (especially luxury watches). When the brands weren’t available in India, Indian consumers would still buy watches abroad. Now with their growing availability in India, the consumer buying phenomenon has seen a huge growth. Earlier, after-sales service was a problem many consumers faced, when they shopped abroad.  

4. Is there any peculiarity with regards to the Indian luxury watch consumer as compared to his/her global counterpart?

Indian luxury watch buyers are highly price sensitive when compared to global buyers. Looks and brand recognition are two important factors rather than watch-making or features of the watches. Indian consumers are mostly open-minded and are willing to try different brands. Whereas, global consumers are pre-determined on what they want to buy. Indian consumers prefer to be exclusive and exclusive timepieces always grab their attention. They mostly go by word-of-mouth.

With an increase in the Indian consumer's purchasing power, expect a 20% rise in the retail market, luxury retailers tell Anita Khatri Mission Delegate-India, Foundation de la Haute Horologerie (FHH).