India's super-rich shrug off downturn

Featured - July 5th, 2012

A handful of India’s population is oblivious to the country’s struggling economy, according to a new study. The “untouched” belong to the upper stratum, set apart by a minimum average net worth of 250 million rupees ($5.6 million) and their flotilla of Mercedes, BMWs, and Audis. When asked how they were faring amid the economic situation, they offer in return, “what downturn?”.

According to the new Top of the Pyramid report by Kotak Wealth Management and ratings agency Crisil Ltd., reports the Wall Street Journal, the numbers of India’s super-rich grew 30% to around 81,000 in 2011-12. Figures will triple to around 286,000 over the next five years. Over 50% of the wealthy are spread across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

The study stated that economic sentiment is not merely diluted with the sheer security from a lot of money but from a sense of duty to support that lifestyle. Being super-rich isn’t only about money but also portraying an “image”. Driving a BMW or Audi over a Mercedes is a calculated choice to “project a youthful image,” pulling up demand for certain cars, according to the report.

India’s super-rich also spend on clothes, luxury watches, diamonds, gold jewelry, and vintage spirits. They also prefer traveling to exotic locations such as Machu Pichu or Bora Bora Island and spending holidays in Spain, Italy and Switzerland.