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What India means to Swarovski

In an interview with Lounge, the brand’s Southeast Asia head Lars Schmidt talks about the Indian shopper and growth plans

Lars Schmidt, senior vice-president (Asia South) and managing director (Southeast Asia and India), Swarovski
Lars Schmidt, senior vice-president (Asia South) and managing director (Southeast Asia and India), Swarovski (Company handout)

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Swarovski is going all out in India. With over 45 boutiques in the country and 120 multi-brand stores, the Austrian luxury brand is planning to expand further in the country, tapping the shopper, especially the conscious millennials, who would like to invest in statement jewellery.

Lounge spoke with Lars Schmidt, senior vice-president (Asia South) and managing director (Southeast Asia and India), Swarovski, about the brand’s growth plans and efforts to become green. Edited excerpts:

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What’s your vision for India?

Our global vision is to become a culturally relevant and attainable luxury brand. India has been a growing market for us. We have seen double-digit growth year-on-year here; we launched our first self-owned and operated store in Delhi in 2020. Last year, we had the India website so that people could shop online.

India is a unique market; each state has its own character. So even in terms of our communication strategy, we have adopted a “glocal” approach, combining global guidelines with local plans. For instance, we had our first Bollywood association in 2020 during Diwali with (actor) Bhumi Pednekar as an extension of the global 125th Swarovski anniversary campaign.

How would you define the Indian consumer?

Indian consumers are changing. From owning a precious piece of jewellery, they are now moving to fashion jewellery that can be worn daily. Also, fashion and investment are no longer as inclusive. Online shopping is on the rise after covid-19, and I think this trend will continue.

Does this mean physical stores are no longer important?

Brick-and-mortar stores play a crucial role in the omnichannel customer journey. The operation goes hand-in-hand, as a customer could be in the store and researching online or picks their product online and wishes to pick it up from the store. Physical stores will continue to stay relevant.

There’s a lot of conversation around sustainability and jewellery. What’s Swarovski doing?

Our ambition as part of rebranding is in line with being more “aware”. We want to be inclusive and green. So, we are working towards reducing our carbon footprint by 2030, a process which will involve participating in the Science Based Targets initiative (a coalition that enables companies to set emission reduction targets in line with leading climate science) and improving the sustainability of our products (like using recycled raw materials). The idea is to be in touch with the customer and the things that are important to them.

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