Indonesia’s luxury market potential – exclusive interview with Time International, President & CEO

In an exclusive interview to CPP-LUXURY.COM, Mr. Irwan Danny Mussry,  President & CEO, Time International, market leader in luxury retailing of watches and jewellery, has shared his insights on his company’s development as well as the future of the Indonesian luxury market.

How has the Indonesian luxury market evolved in the past 3 years? Which are the best performing luxury sectors?

Indonesia has enhanced its luxury sector significantly over the last 3-5 years; just by walking through Plaza Indonesia and Plaza Senayan alone, we can see just how much we’ve grown. Luxury brands who have not been in the market have entered, existing ones have expanded rapidly; we’ve seen tremendous growth in such a short amount of time. Retail in Jakarta and Surabaya, as well as hospitality in Bali in particular are ones that have caught the most attention.

Which do you see as the luxury segments with further potential for growth?

There is definitely more potential for Retail in Jakarta, as is Wines and Spirits – I see a growing appreciation for this segment as well.

Many wealthy Indonesians still prefer to shop abroad? Why?

Personally, I think it’s just because Indonesians love to travel and explore other parts of the world and Indonesians also enjoy shopping – put together, it seems as though it’s a preferred method of shopping but even though Indonesians shop as they travel, they also still shop locally as well.

Which are the biggest challenges a luxury retailer faces in Indonesia? (taxation, logistics etc)

Infrastructure is definitely challenging. Luxury tax and and import regulations are some of the hurdles that the luxury retail industry in particular must face daily.

You operate several top international luxury brands with mono-brand stores. Is this a strategic approach to persuade shopper to buy locally?

Mono-brand stores are not to persuade shoppers to buy locally; it’s more to provide the customer with a full 360 experience of what the brand can offer; to allow the customer to be truly immersed in the universe of the brand so the DNA of the brand is clear.

How would you describe the profile of the Indonesian luxury consumer? (behaviour, lifestyle, interaction with piers, type of design)

Indonesian customers are very savvy. They know exactly what they want when they enter the shop. They are well traveled, they know the latest trends and they know what looks good on them.

Which are the top three best selling watch brands?

Brand like Rolex, TAG Heuer, Audemars Piguet, IWC and Panerai are very strong in the Indonesia market. We have noticed that our customers tend to prefer watches that are rather be bold and sporty versus the classic clean styles.

Do you have plans to add other international luxury fashion brands to your portfolio? (mono-brand stores)

We have some potential brands in the pipeline; we are working closely to finalize them soon. In the meantime, we are very happy to be opening the first Tory Burch store in Indonesia this coming September 2014.

Besides locals, do you see an opportunity to attract more foreign wealthy shoppers to Indonesia?

Our focus is domestic at this point, but of course, we would welcome any foreign customers to our stores.

What is your view on the important of service but also education? (in many emerging markets luxury consumers still buy watches depending on how recogizable is the design, number of diamonds, weeight of gold etc)

Service and education work hand in hand. We would not be able to provide good service to our customers if our education about the products, about the brands and about the industry were limited. This is why we invest so heavily into our Learning and Development division who spearhead all the training and development for our front liners.

Human resources and consumer service are essential. Tell us more about your strategic approach in this respect. 

I completely agree with this notion – referring back to my earlier statement on our Learning & Development division. We wanted to make sure that all our employees, at every level throughout the company, are properly equipped with the knowledge and skills that they need to perform well. Our curriculums cover everything from basic grooming, selling skills, leadership, counseling, accounting for non-accountants, through to brand specific trainings such as watchmaking for non-watchmakers etc. – every aspect they may need in their day-to-day duties.

Would you consider diversifying into other luxury sectors ? (i.e. luxury fashion branded restaurants / cafes etc

We are always open to explore new opportunities if the brands fit our company culture and beliefs. At the end of the day, we want Indonesia’s luxury horizon to expand even further too.

Read more about Time International here.

interview conducted by Oliver Petcu