I recently had the opportunity of window shopping with some friends visiting India and it was interesting to note how visitors to India from different continents react to the retail prices of the products of the international brands available in the Indian market.
Friends from Europe (specifically from the UK, which is a relatively expensive country to live in) were pleasantly surprised to find the prices of some of the products of international brands such as L’Oreal, Tommy Hilfiger, Marks & Spencer and Levi Strauss cheaper and they extended their list of things to buy from India at the cost of paying for the extra baggage on their way home. (Well, it also happened to be the discount season during their visit.)
On the other hand, friends from Canada who had arrived a few weeks earlier (before the discount sales started) found the products of international brands too expensive by “Indian standards” and decided that they should do their shopping back in their home country during the markdown sales for Halloween or Christmas!! After all, shouldn’t India be cheaper?!
Yet again, a case in point, when I visited a “just opened” retail outlet of an international brand at a well known mall in the NCR region, I noticed the Rupee price mentioned on the tag was higher than the converted value of the unit price printed in Euros on the same tag. As a consumer I rationalized that probably the brand was launched in a hurry and one forgot to remove the Euro price stickers, though it may also have been a possibility that since the products were imported, the high import duty structure may have resulted in a higher Indian price!
Is it possible for the international brands to follow a common pricing globally? Could the international brands integrate the global tariff barriers/ duties, and currency conversions in their cost structure and have their products priced the same across all international borders?
Well, maybe not just yet…although some brands have tried. For now, consumers can only hope for more parity.
Come to think of it…..if you went shopping in the UK after the US you may just find that for some products the prices (read digits) appear to be the same ……only the “$” would have been replaced by “£”.