According to AT Kearney’s India Luxury Review Report of 2008-09, the market for luxury products in India will be in the US$25-30 billion range by 2015 and non-metro India would account for at least US$10 billion of that.

Online flash sales seem to follow the same trend, with around a third of the business coming from non-metros:

Some quotes given below are ample proof of buying power in non-metros…

Our clientele can basically be divided into three categories. The metros, the tier 2 – tier 3 cities and then the clients from abroad. The second category has the highest number of members,” said Nilesh Saxena, the director of the luxury portal, ‘Brandmile’.

Before Valentine’s day, we received a big order for Victoria’s Secret lingerie from a place outside of Patna. One of our most regular clients is from Bhatinda. In the small towns of India, there are plenty of people who can afford the brands but don’t have access to them, and that is where our website steps in,” said Ishita Swarup, CEO and founding partner, ‘99 Labels’.

Meghna Reddy from ‘DesiCouture’ says “I was overwhelmed with the response in the first few months from places like Coimbatore, Vizag and Ludhiana.”

“To our surprise, we have orders coming from places such as Bhubaneswar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Guwahati, Jammu and Lucknow. Sites like ours are making luxury brands more accessible, as most of these brands don’t have stores in non-metros,” says Pearl Uppal, CEO of ‘Fashion and You’.

Recently, when ‘Fashion and You’ had a high-tea event during the Lakme Fashion Week, they invited their most valuable members to attend the event and their highest spender turned out to be a very fashionable lady from Guwahati!

These shopping clubs are an excellent example of e-tailing particularly targeting ‘middle India’ for well-known premium brands. They provide fodder for the aspirational yearnings of small-town India which have no outlet for fulfilment, until of course, online flash sales redefined how fashion and designer goods were marketed and distributed in India.

Data Sources: News Reports – Indian Express, Outlook India, New York Times, etc.


Roshni Jhaveri