What was Levis and UCB for the upper middle class, it was Prada and Chanel for the Urban rich. However, that as a few years ago, but today with more exposure to western designs via social media and pop culture, even the middle class has now started dreaming bigger. According to a report from Euromonitor International, India is the fastest growing emerging market for luxury goods, growing by more than $225 million a year. Startups like Delhi-based Confidential Couture and Bengaluru-based Zapyle are bringing luxury fashion to a larger customer base via pre-owned goods.
Rashi Menda, Founder and CEO of Zapyle, says that their target audience – women in the age group of 18 to 35 years - are becoming more aware of luxury brands. “Millennials entered the workforce with a smartphone in their hand. They had access to information from across the world through social media,” she says. This could be a reason why the market is now more open to the idea of pre-owned luxury. Anvita Mehra, Founder of Confidential Couture, says: “In many developed economies like the US, the UK, and the UAE, pre-owned luxury industry is far bigger than the actual one. We haven't targeted even 10 percent of the audience in India. We need to consolidate tier 2 and tier 3 areas more.” As per the Top of the Pyramid 2015 report by Kotak Wealth Management, 44 percent of India's multi-millionaires live outside metros.
Thanks to mobile commerce penetration, Zapyle is sure of its online-only plan. “All the products we are selling have their offline presence. They are educating users about their brand. We are targeting users who are aware and aspire to buy those products,” says Rashi.
Sanjay Shroff, Founder of Styletag, believes in catering to a particular customer segment. Styletag is an omni-channel player, and provides domestic designer labels at an average ticket size of Rs 5,000. “With the advent of institutions like NIFT, many more designers are also coming up. So we will be expanding into leisure wear, beach wear, night wear, and home décor too,” Sanjay tells YourStory.
“But pre-owned sector being a C2C model, there is uncertainty from the sellers' side,” says Anvita. Aspirational customers with disposable incomes form a giant chunk of their customer base. In fact, Zapyle targets three kinds of users: budgeted, aspirants, and indulgents. “The indulgents mostly are buyers and sellers; aspirants happen to be skewed more towards buyers; and budgeted – we want to grow them into being aspirants,” says Rashi. Zapyle is also offering fresh designer items from wedding collections of previous seasons.
With more business models evolving, luxury is not a guilty pleasure of HNIs anymore. In short, you need not save a month's salary for a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps any more.