In what is being called a difficult year, our survey found that the overall trends in spending among Indian ultra HNIs is consistent with what has been observed among the global jet-set – which is that there has been hardly any scaling down on purchases of items that qualify as non-discretionary. The list of such non-discretionary items is gradually growing, along with changes in lifestyle.
Trends in 2011
Overall, to sustain their high-end lifestyle, ultra HNIs as a class continue to spend a significant portion of their overall expenditure on domestic and international branded wear, customised holiday packages, luxury watches, jewellery, diamonds and precious stones, and household electronics.
Of these categories, the biggest impact,our survey found, was on jewellery/precious stones – the percentage of respondents saying that the slowdown had hit purchases was nearly 28 per cent, compared with around 11-19 per cent for the other categories.
An interesting feature of this year’s responses compared with last year is the increase in the number of people who said they preferred to shop in India, even for high-end global brands.
This indicates that concerns regarding quality and variety of the products are slowly easing as more and more luxury product makers are setting up outlets in the country.
Such spends are not restricted to self as the ultra HNI also spends heavily on immediate family and close friends, in that order.
There appeared to be no let up in finding new and innovative ways to spend and impress, not with standing the economic slowdown that is also hurting business as a whole.
In the Indian society, weddings have always been an ostentatious occasion, with the degree of splendour and glitz only varying slightly from region to region.
Many other occasions such as birthdays, launch parties, wedding anniversaries and the like are becoming occasions for lavish displays of wealth.Nearly 40 per cent of our respondents said that such occasions were now regular events, and not ad-hoc ones.
The general mindset behind the display of wealth on such occasions appeared to be to keep up with their peer circles and also to show that they could stage such events better than the others.
The Inheritors are particularly fond of celebrities gracing and performing at such occasions; all our Inheritor respondents said that they had celebrity performers for such events.
The most famous event destinations within the country are places such as Goa, Jaipur and Pune, and farmhouses in smaller towns. Internationally, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Dubai are favoured, perhaps because of ideally located, in terms of distance to travel, for a 2-3 day event.
The ultra HNI is an avid traveller, be it for business or leisure or, when possible, for both. In last year’s survey, we had noted that vacationing was a top priority for them.
Most of them said that they undertook around 2-4 trips a year, including at least one overseas trip, reinforcing last year’s findings.
Among overseas destinations, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa were touted as favourite vacation destinations. Europe, primarily Spain, Italy, and Switzerland, and New Zealand are popular vacation spots for adventure sports, while South Africa tops the list for wild life or Safari experiences.
Amongst beaches, Mauritius emerged as the most popular destination.
Interestingly, many ultra HNIs said that they were as keen to visit tourist destinations in India as those abroad.
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