TURNING A NEW LEAF
Small is big and niche is the new normal as luxury brands go on a reinvention spree to find appeal among younger consumers
Small is big and niche is the new normal as luxury brands go on a reinvention spree
The luxury business is in a real bind. How do you maintain exclusivity in an age where everyone is urging you to jump onto the social media bandwagon and leave your digital imprint for all to see? While exclusivity demands a degree of restraint and shadow boxing so as to veer clear of the masses, for many brands, the past year has been about finding the balance between what makes them comfortably familiar to old faithfuls and what attracts newer, younger consumers into their fold by engaging them digitally.
According to a recent report published by Deloitte, ‘99 million millennials versus 77 million boomers now make up a larger segment of the luxury market’. At the same time, the report cautions one to keep a close eye on the boomers as they are the ones with the current spending power. So for most brands, the one-size-fits-all approach has been ditched in favour of digital pockets that offer consumers vastly different worlds. With greater digital engagement, we have seen the birth of social influencers whose lives are on Instagram or other social media, and within seconds of posting, they garner thousands of likes which lead to quick sellouts of products they are endorsing. Research by MuseFind, an influencer marketing platform, found that ‘92 per cent of consumers trust the opinion of an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement’.
If we look at some of the top luxury brands, it is easy to see how their strategies have changed over the past year. For example, the LVMH conglomerate has embraced the digital world with its classy online avatar that has taken shape as a multi-brand online shop. It has also launched a
luxury and high-tech programme in collaboration with a Parisian incubator, called Station F, to take its brand to a new place.
Closer home, the Indian luxury consumer is a curious one—skeptical about influencers, but keen on being wooed and converted. Given that India is such a unique and diverse market, we have seen big brands that were mapping their growth in other parts of Asia now eye the Indian pie, hungry for a slice of success here. Affordable luxury brands like Michael Kors, Coach, Kiehl’s and Bobbi Brown have managed to sidle in and are in a sweet spot even as bigger brands scramble for numbers that only good quality luxury retail across multiple stores can enable.
Given this tricky diversity and the impact of economic policies such as demonetisation and a restriction on how much cash can be spent without having to show your PAN card, the Indian luxury market is still on an unsure footing in the short term and remains a market heavily influenced by what people see and experience overseas when they travel.
As spending increases in the run-up to the busy festival season, we get experts to study and chart the rise and fall of luxury trends that are making a dent in India. From an independent jewellery designer who chronicles the rise of the anti-trend as consumers shun fine jewellery in favour of stylish fashion jewellery to a return to nature and automation as the big trends in the automative industry, to how artisanal spirits are finding favour among those seeking luxury in a glass or fashion’s newest fable, we tell you what’s hot on the luxury trail this season. Buy into the changing idea of luxury today.
Velvet Touch(Top) Conspicuous consumption is slowly being replaced by a mix of products and experiences that count; driverless cars are likely to be the next big wave in the auto industry