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There is a lot of rhetoric and despair surrounding the current COVID-19 scenario which has declared the market slow-moving or outright stagnant. A cerebral two-day webinar, STIMULUS 2020, was designed to cut through the volume by speaking with industry experts who have dealt with similar cards before. To connect with strategists, business owners and executives in order to canvas possibilities and new ideas in media, luxury, lifestyle, leadership and other industries.
IANSlife spoke to Karan Bhagnay, Founder of The Global Luxury Group who co-organised the event with, Crosshairs Communications (PR Partner) & WIN (Women Inspiring Network - Content Partner) to find out his thoughts on the topic.
Q. Luxury is recession proof but is it also COVID-19 proof?
Bhagnay: We, at The Global Luxury Group agree upon the reality that the customer's mindset at every level will change post lockdown. This could lead to minimalism in a large context, hence, it will actually affect the shopping pattern of certain customers; it will in turn increase its effect on the entire luxury market. So there will be huge demand versus supply. Hence unlike with recession, I think the entire luxury industry will go through a huge shift in mindset which will prove this that luxury is not COVID-19 proof. It is not.
Q. Startups to flourish or wither with impact of COVID-19
Bhagnay: According to me it is a very inappropriate question. It's directly propotional to what startups are doing. For example if you were earlier solving problems like these which became a catalyst to the current way of living then the startup will do well. But if you are running a startup around social interactions or an event company then you will see that your numbers will fall drastically, it can nullify especially during the lockdown and later.
Hence, startups will flourish or fade away is specific to what startup you represent. In my case it;s being able to hustle between a digital world and the physical world, its about hustling between events and ecommerce; so, my events business will go through rough times in the current days, but my ecommerce business and my digital businesses will flourish in the coming days.
Q. E-commerce and digitization the new normal for any and every business?
Bhagnay: I truly think so. It is true that ecommerce and digitalization is going to be the new social. You got to have your presence here, otherweise your company, whether it is a small luxury brand or a large scale mall, is going to loose its target audience attention soon. Without digitalization and ecommerce I think it will be very difficult to sustain in the coming wave of paranoia amongst the individuals. I think digitalization and ecommerce are here to stay.
Q. Events like The Indian Luxury Expo will overcome the fear of social proximity and will be back to business as usual?
Bhagnay: The current state is one and equal for everybody globally. I can not confirm that it will bounce back the way it has in its old glorious days. Indian Luxury Expo will tweak itself becoming a much meaningful event amongst select individuals. And that is how it's going to redo itself than being a large scale event which calls for a huge social gathering. I think row concept of social gathering is going to fade for some years atleast two three years to come.
Q. Is India is set to become the world's fastest wealth creator in the next few years?
Bhagnay: Well definitely the way current government actually coped with the scenario, it is true that India will not be affected to the average potential of how it could have been, knowing our population and our way of living life which is quite social compared to Europeans or Americans.
We do indulge in a lot of social gatherings in every context from our office work to our transport systems to our religious beliefs. Knowing all of that I think we have not even touched an average estimate of what this could impact in India. And because we are overcoming that India remains pretty much safe in terms of its business.
Since a large part of the Indian population consists of mainly youth, we are going to be wealth creators in a large way. We are a young nation, 70 percent of the total population is young and thus digitalised. The govt. has invested heavily in last five years in digitalization. Now most of the people are equipped with smart tools like mobiles phones and good internet connections. This will help the Indian economy to be much better than all the other large affected economies like Europe, United Kingdom, China or U.S.A. I think they are going to experience a sharp cut down in their GDP, in their entire scheme of being wealth creators. Now I think India will evolve as a huge young nation looking forward as a wealth creator in varoius ways.