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...It was to launch a new bag that day, slightly smaller than earlier versions but with bigger, shinier locks. These customers were not necessarily well-heeled, but many were gasping to splurge on a new bag with a huge emotional upgrade. I trudged off, ruing the challenges for a premium brand in India, dreaming of the day when mass consumers start trading up. Barring the small consumer class that enjoys champagne lunches at five-star hotels, brands are not perceived as extensions of personality in India. Our big splurges at weddings are more a hard-nosed negotiation of every-day commodities—from jewellery to flowers. Unlike in Russia or China, the story in India is largely driven by the urban mass consumer whose trading-up decisions are driven more by attributes rather than aspiration. Durables, health, communication and financial services lead the trading-up rankings; beauty and lifestyle follow. ...Live Mint on Oct. 12, 2016, 12:15 a.m.