Around the world, most businesses had to mandatorily make a transition from offline to online mode to keep running their businesses amidst the global pandemic. Keeping up with the trend, the luxury retail business has also marched ahead with consumers doing luxury shopping now than before from the comforts of their home just by click of a mouse.

Online luxury shopping is forecast to reach around €110 billion in 2025, accounting for 30 per cent of the global market. A research by Bain & Co research shows that global online luxury purchases increased year-on-year by 50 per cent from €33 billion in 2019 to an estimated €49 billion in 2020.

Luxury retail in India was an uncharted territory for the longest time until recently, when it received the much-needed hype from Indian consumers. Many online and offline flagship luxury retailers have since served numerous customers week by week across the country. While every other business was facing a downturn due to the pandemic, the rise of the luxury market in the online space came as a major booster.

Not long ago, luxury was not pursued by commoners and only appealed to high-net-worth individuals (HNI's). However, the world has witnessed a sea change in recent years, and it won't be wrong to say that the luxury sector will be crowded by middle-class and aspirational millennials of the country soon, thanks to expanding income brackets and a predisposition towards investing in elements that last longer. Online luxury retailers like Darveys are making hay and have seen a 300 per cent growth year on year.

Sustainable fashion

The world today is more awakened than ever, and the consumer is more concerned about everything that is taking place globally, including the implications of the fashion industry. In such a scenario there is buzz around sustainability and sustainable fashion brands. While luxury is generally associated with premium materials like leather and fur, some luxury brands are switching ways and choosing the path of going green due to increased sensitivity among customers towards animal rights. It would be right to state that compassion is the new luxury and people everywhere are taking a step forward to contribute to the very cause. Already luxury brands like Stella McCartney, Armani, Valentino, and Rag and Bone have banned or are taking actions towards abolishing the use of animal-based materials.

Though people in India are yet to approve the notion of sustainable brands whole-heatedly but slowly and steadily people are warming up to the idea.

Transition from window shopping to offline browsing

It was not long back when entire towns and cities were locked around the world due to the pandemic. As the pandemic rages on, international travel remains banned, and people have restricted themselves from visiting local stores to buy items other than those perceived necessary. So, visiting a luxury store is out of the question for many right now, mostly in cities which are still seeing a surge in cases. As such, online portals offering luxury items are coming to the rescue of consumers. The very nature of living beings is to adapt to prevailing situations--this adaptation has led to a boost in sales, shifting people’s attention from offline to online buying. Nowadays, people spend their time browsing e-commerce sites from their home computers or phones and often end up buying things for themselves. This includes luxury items as well.

Consequently, retailers have started to personalise every step of the buying process to retain the customers’ attention. This includes making the offline interface more attractive and user-friendly, which has given more traction to the luxury market.

Luxury upsurge

The luxury wave is stepping into more homes every day. Luxury, especially in India, has never been so accessible. The inclination towards maintaining a luxury lifestyle is surprising a reality now.

There is no denying that shopping can be therapeutic and helps in relieving anxiety when one is confined to the house. As a result, there is a steep rise in online shoppers worldwide. Everyday there is inflow of new customers on luxury portals who want to buy luxury items, which shows how successful these portals have become. People may start small but eventually wish to go elite in terms of their luxury lifestyle, relishing the small things, wanting to go all the way up.