2009 Luxury Industry Trends
in Strategy & Trends | by Ethan Lyon
By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
In our exploration of the luxury industry, we have scoured the web for the most interesting, innovative products leading the latest trends. Resetting the gold standard, the importance of the human touch and our environmental footprint are key concepts we synthesized from industry experts and product bright spots in the affluent market. Further, we introduce our two industry critics, Creo the creative and Ana the analyst to argue different perspectives on the luxury industry.
Luxury Trend: Scarcity – Human touch, custom products and limited quantity are the key concepts of the Scarcity Trend. Limited supply has been a guiding principle for economic growth since the dawn of trade. Today, with the ability to mass-produce products and maximize services, consumers are increasingly interfacing with and using products from machines. In this world of overcapacity, scarcity is increasing in value. We explore the world of double hull yachts and high-end custom made books to illustrate the importance of the human touch in a world of machines.
Luxury Trend: Accessible Gold Standard – This trend is all about the importance of outstanding service and value. These two concepts govern those brands who aspire to be outstanding while still accessible. We explore how Saks Fifth Avenue delivers outstanding service and Jimmy Choo introduces himself into a new market.
Luxury Trend: Positive Impact – The Positive Impact Trend is about combining the green found in nature and in affluent wallets to create outstanding, sustainable products. Many luxury brands are looking towards positive impact to overshadow many of the negative attitudes towards excessive spending. From hoteliers to iconic auto brands like BMW and Lexus to high-end eyewear, we will explore the many ways in which the luxury industry is adding a splash of green to their colors.
Luxury Trend: Tradition 2.0 – As one of the most pervasive trends in luxury, Tradition 2.0 is about revamping and re-imagining luxury. Instead of starting from the drawing board, purveyors of luxury have found success in creating new products, inspired by the old, with a new twist. Whether it’s sweetening the deal with perks or re-stylizing traditional luxury, brands catering to the affluent lifestyle are spinning convention to develop products and services that are grounded in familiarity while updated with a modern edge. We discover the world of glamping and find enticing ways to spice up high-end real estate deals.
Quality is in the Details – Using marketing guru, Seth Godin’s post about details, we discuss the relationship between details and quality. As product quality increases the more story there is to tell. Godin exemplifies this concept through two eggs: a $0.14 egg, born by a prison chicken, versus an egg, born by a freerange chicken, at a price of $0.39. After all is done, Godin estimates it’s about a $0.31 difference. The quality of the freerange egg is worth writing about.
Luxury Debate: Collections VS Hero Items – Burberry’s recent sales increase, the demand for Hermes crocodile bags and Kobe Bryant’s $285,000 watch are several discussion points for Creo the creative and Ana the analyst—Sparxoo’s dynamic duo. They explore two distinct, but opposite trends in luxury: the collections trend, which is about stylistic consistency for a harmonious lifestyle and the hero item trend which is about the highly prized gems that eliminate unnecessary and sometimes unwanted items found in collections.
Luxury Debate: Generational Gap in Luxury — The gap between Generation Y and Boomers has created a debate between emphasis on social mission and heritage. While Gen Y emerge as the socially conscious, impact-oriented up-and-comers, their parents and grand parents focus on quality and brand and product stories. Though Gen Y believe in paying for quality, social impact also plays an important role in their purchasing decisions. We bring in Creo the creative and Ana the analyst to mull over whether social mission or heritage is the most promising.
Photo by Valdas Zajanckauskas from Stock.Xchng