What does the FUTURE of LUXURY LIFESTYLE BRANDS look like in 2021?
LUXURY as we knew it has changed in these last few months and it is going to undergo a renewed redefinition in the next coming year. Living with this novel virus Covid19, is the new reality of our world and the sooner we adapt to this, the better. Within just a span of few months, this virus and the related norm of social distancing has made us realize the worth of our loved ones and the luxury of movement, travel and social affinity that we so took for granted earlier. Owing to the new way of life, the way we value and spend our resources has also undergone a major change. With economy being severely hit and no revival being foreseen in the near future, people have become more mindful of their spending algorithms. The gloom and the grim and the uncertainty of the situation has certainly taken a toll on the psychological well being and emotional quo of the larger part of the population.
“Consumer worldwide is more inclined on survival and sustenance, than in luxury.”
Nobody can predict with apt accuracy the intensity of the situation in the next coming months. But it is for sure, that life would not be exactly the same as we knew it before. The situation being hard on each one of us to varying degrees, only the fittest in terms of mental and emotional endurance and financial strength would survive these tough times. When it comes to spending on luxury lifestyle brands, the consumers mindset has definitely changed. These luxury brands only exist by creating the need to curate a higher standard of good living amongst the more privileged strata. In times, when even the ones at the topmost layer have suffered a setback, hoarding your closet with luxury items doesn’t seem like a priority.
‘Amidst emotional, social and physical setbacks, materialistic attainments are sure to take a backseat.’
For years, most luxury brands have sustained themselves by creating a luxury brand narrative and imagery in the market. They have made the consumer to believe that high price equals luxury. But this superfluous notion around luxury is now to die. Only the brands that truly add value to a customer’s experience would continue. Superior and non-negotiable brand ethics of a luxury lifestyle brand would only help them sail through. Delivering superior customer satisfaction and a differentiating par excellence brand worth to their customers is what is needed the most at the moment.
Till now, being a luxury lifestyle brand meant selling conspicuously superior quality product at an exorbitant price at a high end retail store. It was not just about the magnificence of the product, but the whole elite experience of this retail shopping that would further inflate and uplift the consumer ego. But post this pandemic catastrophe, consumers worldwide would be more inclined to the online shopping mode. Now the onus on these luxury lifestyle brands would be to actually provide their customers with great value addition and quality in terms of the product. No retail shopping experience would be able to makeup for the slight inefficacy in the quality.
With resources contracting and the needs of the consumers changing, there is a stronger focus on sustainability now. Even the most luxurious of brands would have to alter their production and marketing strategies accordingly.
According to Sara Willersdorf, Global Luxury Head at Boston Consulting Group, ‘Sustainability is here to stay and brands need to include it in their products, packaging and delivery systems.’
Luxury brands will have to think hard to repronounce what’s the new luxury for consumers. With more than half of the world confined into their homes and living in fear and despair, it is highly unlikely they would want to buy a luxury bag worth lacs. With no where to go and no social life per say, people would rather want to secure their money or invest in things of use. For the work from home generation, investing in high end superior gadgets seems more practical than ever. People would want to put more currency into their businesses for further consolidation and future security rather than buying a luxury brand.
Gucci, Louis Vuitton along with other luxury brands have decided to reduce the number of shows that they hold each year from maybe five to two. All the extravaganza and the splendor of a Cruise show is going to rest in peace now. Alessandro Michele, the creative Director of Gucci announced in a video conference. He said that the need to get done with the yearly Fall-winter and Spring-summer collection calendars. “We need new oxygen to allow this complex system to be reborn,”.
With this, it is anticipated that your Instagram feeds are also about to change bigtime. With most of the International Luxury brands deciding to showcase and hold the launch of their collections on Digital platforms, Instagram would provide the new Fashion week stage. The platform is only going to get bigger and hold much of a prominent position in the times to come.
Well, though 2020 has come as a shock to most, the luxury brand industry should have predicted this well in advance. The consumer behavior has been changing in the last few years. The luxury industry already needed to revamp its operational strategies and the brand ethics way before. The consumer in the age group of 30 to 40 years is far more exposed and critical than their predecessors ever before. They want value for money for every penny that they invest. With sustainability and a personal expression being high on priority, they would not have brough a luxury brand just for the status quotient or to add something to their collection. Covid19 has just acted as an accelerator to this need for the luxury brands to introspect and redefine their modus operandi. There is a greater need to stay relevant than ever before. These brands need to work on a strategy to remain both timely as well as timeless in this rapid and highly competitive times.