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Revenge luxury shopping to continue; brands must be proactive to curb counterfeit sales: Safir Anand

Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm, in its public reports predicted that the Indian luxury goods market would grow from $6 billion in 2021 to $8.5 billion in 2022.

Cartier, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Rolls Royce are just some of the names that have reported post-pandemic sales surge in India. Will India’s post-pandemic luxury craze only reverberate in the long run? Safir Anand, an IPR lawyer who has served on the board of platforms such as FDCI, JLF and managed IPR mandates for brands such as Coco Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Hermès, Georgio Armani and others, shares his insights in an interview with Business Today. Excerpts:

BT: The two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown influenced how people wanted to spend their money. People all over the world have started to make up for the “lost” two years of their lives by going the splurge route – has this spending trend affected the sales of luxury brands in India?

safir: When COVID-19 hit in 2020, there were understandable fears due to closures and the closure of shopping malls and stores around the world, including in India, but the transition to e-commerce has enabled the customer to have the ability to engage and buy from their favorite brands even during this time. period. In fact, luxury goods are often seen as investments, and due to uncertainties, many people view such purchases as security. In 2021 itself, when the lockdowns eased and customers overcame their fears of going outside, things started to look very different.

Economic activity increased as customers who had paused their plans during the lockdowns set to shopping for weddings and vacations and satisfying their appetites for luxury cars. According to NielsenIQ reports released recently, due to easing semiconductor shortages, passenger vehicle sales are also expected to increase. In 2022, Mercedes Benz recorded record sales in India and continues to project a positive trend in the future.

BT: What about supply and demand, is there a long wait in luxury stores? Do customers pre-book the latest launches? Which brands have seen a post-pandemic surge in demand?

safir: Supply has affected the ability of many brands to expedite delivery and satisfy their customers. Even in high-end brands of watches, cars and high-end bags, while demand has held up, supply chain issues due to the effects of the pandemic, staff shortages and other global issues let customers down. It has also given the industry much-needed impetus to modernize and overhaul its supply chain management systems. Demand forecasting and inventory planning have never been more important than today.

As the trend of long queues outside stores continues, luxury brands are trying to stay appealing to their customers by offering personalized shopping opportunities, including prioritizing special customers with pieces limited edition, opportunities for special customers to purchase the product before the product hits the market. wider customer base and more.

Cartier, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Rolls Royce are just a few of the names that have reported post-pandemic sales increases.

BT: Has the volume of luxury goods sales increased over the years? Of how much?

safir: Earlier this year, Euromonitor International, which is a London-based market research firm, in its public reports predicted that the Indian luxury goods market would grow from $6 billion in 2021 to $8.5 billion. dollars in 2022 and the current trend continues to support this projection. In fact, the projected growth rate exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

BT: The gray market for luxury goods is growing every day – it’s a consequence of brand awareness in India. What laws are in place to stop counterfeiting in India? Is India one of the biggest markets for dumping Chinese counterfeits?

safir: India does not have independent legislation dealing specifically with the fight against counterfeiting. However, protection against infringement is available in different intellectual property laws, for example,

Section 104 of the Trade Marks Act 1999 imposes criminal liability on any person who sells, lets or lets services to which a false trademark or trade description is applied;

Section 63 of the Copyright Act 1957 makes it a criminal offense to infringe or contribute to infringing a work. Counterfeiting can also be considered an act of cheating under Section 415 of the Indian Penal Code. The computer law aims to combat illegal counterfeiting activities carried out through the use of computer systems and technologies.

The Medicines and Cosmetics Act 1940 stipulates procedures to deal with adulterated, fake or mislabeled medicines and their export from India. India is one of the main markets for dumping Chinese counterfeits. India has already imposed anti-dumping duties on several products to curb cheap imports from various countries including China.

BT: Which local designer do you think has the potential to create a global impact?

safir: I think Manish Malhotra is a visionary and takes the right approach with a focus on global expansion. His ability to appease the sensibilities of his consumers is unparalleled and with Reliance Brands’ recent equity stake in his business, I believe Manish is already on his way to becoming a global powerhouse.

Moreover, Sabyasachi Mukherjee also has good business aptitude and has been able to create a good global reach of his designs.

Rahul Misra is also an interesting name that comes to mind and has created a differentiated presence for himself and his brand, including internationally.

BT: Will the trend towards luxury shopping spree subside in the coming times?

safir: For now, due to supply chain disruptions, the luxury industry is sitting on a lot of backorders which, for some time to come, will positively contribute to their sales. Even otherwise, unless there is a black swan event, the luxury industry appears to be experiencing positive growth, which is also reflected in projections made by industry leaders and agencies. independent.

BT. Do you foresee a correction in the problem of the sale and purchase of counterfeit products?

safir: The Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018 revealed a growing problem in the luxury industry, where online sales of counterfeit products accounted for 31% of total counterfeit losses in 2017.

Social media platforms have become key markets for counterfeit luxury goods. While brands are employing AI and dedicated teams to monitor online activities and the Gen Z customer is expected to rely on online sales, it’s safe to say that for some time to come, customers can rely on brands’ physical stores and also prefer walk-in shopping due to the in-store experience.

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