The luxury industry shares its assessment of COVID-19 and the impact on global luxury businesses at Power Panel hosted by SP Jain Global

Mumbai: How has the Coronavirus affected the global luxury industry? How can luxury companies emerge stronger, more innovative and purposeful after the battle against the Coronavirus has been won? To answer these important questions and more, SP Jain School of Global Management hosted, for the very first time, a ‘Power Panel Webinar’ bringing together luxury leaders and stalwarts from across the globe to share their insights, perspectives and relevant facts.

The webinar was attended by over 300 participants from around the world and included an eminent panel comprising:

Megha Malagatti, Business Development Director – L’Oreal, Paris
Angelica Di Guglielmo, Luxury Brand Management Specialist & Worldwide Sales Director, Mischka Aoki, Milano
Ajit Pai, CEO Audi, Audi Thane & Mumbai West Region
Gauri Kohli, Director – Luxury, PR Pundit, Delhi
Pareina Thapar, Co-Founder, Longform PR, Delhi
Saurabh Dube – Director of Sales & Marketing, St. Regis, Mumbai
Tarek Azmi – Founder- Here’s Good News Training & Co-founder – Grey matter KSA, Dubai
Sharing her experience of hosting the Power Panel, Ms. Smita Jain, Director of the Master of Global Luxury Management program at SP Jain said, “Through this panel, we wanted to highlight global perspectives across segments and economies, and understand the impact of the current crisis on luxury businesses worldwide. The perspectives that emerged from the panel indicate that certain segments within the luxury space may tweak their business strategies and more importantly, personalise experiences for customers. We are receiving tremendous response to the session, and are aiming to create an ecosystem of experts that will provide a robust stimulus to the industry.”

In response to the most pressing questions facing luxury brands today, the panelists highlighted key trends that will set the tone for a possible new era in the global luxury industry.

India to occupy a coveted top spot in the global automobile production space

The automobile sector relies greatly on China, with the country accounting for 29% of the world’s total automobile manufacturing. While production in China cannot be avoided entirely, industry experts are expecting a shift to markets like India for production. India already has manufacturing capabilities; however, holds a small share of the pie at 2.9%. While the transition will take time, the shift is likely to put India on the global automobile map, as it holds the potential to impact the employment and economy in the long run.

Domestic leisure travel to be the saving grace for the hospitality / aviation industries

Arguably, the hospitality and aviation sectors are amongst the most impacted segments due to COVID-19, with the Indian Hospitality industry suffering losses to the tune of USD 4.5 billion. However, the industry is anticipating making a comeback by Q4, with certain sub segments ruling over the others. While Inbound and Outbound tourism is expected to be slow, owing to the restrictions placed by countries on international travelers, the domestic corporate travel may also take a hit depending on the state of business in the country. However, domestic leisure travel is said to rebound swiftly, and will be a major factor in helping the industry recover post the pandemic.

In-store luxury experiences will continue to dominate in the post-COVID world

While most sectors are shifting to digital means of shopping, the luxury retail segment has a unique stand. The segment is driven by the consumers’ need for indulgence and immersive experiences, which cannot be fulfilled through online platforms. Luxury holds a more symbolic value over function for most consumers, and industry experts believe that digitalisation of brands is a temporary solution. Although brands are acknowledging the need for omnipresence in times of the COVID-19, most retailers believe that in-store experiences will continue to dominate post the pandemic when it comes to luxury shopping.

Conscientious, responsible luxury is the future

Luxury brands have always enjoyed an air of exquisiteness, and an association with being glitzy. However, the industry is now witnessing a change in consumer behavior, with more and more people gravitating towards conscientious, responsible luxury as an effort to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. This has caused a ripple effect, leading brands and creators to seek slower lines of production that promote sustainability and creativity. Luxury brands are focusing on curating collections to address responsible consumption, and slow living, while maintaining their exclusiveness, and premium quality at the same time.