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Timothée Richard 12.15.20

4 values driving the new luxury customer


Influenced by technological disruption and ethical questions, the new generation of consumers is upsetting luxury’s inherent notions to better enchant it once again.

While Millennials are on the verge of representing almost half of the active population worldwide and already about 45% of luxury consumers, luxury brand’s prerequisite as of now need to enter new dynamics to better grab attention: singularity, creativity, innovation and experience.

1/ Ultra-connected and story living-hungry

Luxury is “hacked” by an ultra-connected generation constantly searching for thrills – preferring the experience to the story. Thus, the idea of property is substituted to the need for a feeling, an emotion, whether it be virtual or real, alone or shared. Furthermore, luxury is no longer owned: it becomes a “lifestyle”, an unforgettable experience, an art of living going beyond the traditional brand purpose.

Yet, if the story living constitutes a key luxury lever, at times, the product certainly continues to create a strong desire for the customer. No matter the generation, the latter defines a complementarity between materiality and experience.

CONNEXION Exposition Geek Mais Chic © Le Bon Marché

In addition, agility speeds the desire for an immediate and instantaneous experience, a luxury exempted from all expectations. After the “uberised society, luxury-on-demand is the keyword for an excellence-tinted experience.

2/ Amateur and full-blown actor

New generations are drawing contours to – at first glance – far-away sphere, and luxury does not infringe on this rule.

The time when customers were erased for the benefit of statutory and dominant brand codes is over. It now emancipates itself from a brand wanting to dictate its codes and consuming ways to adopt a position of expert, “enlightened amateur” and full-blown market actor. Rarity and exclusivity are increasingly more difficult to define in the face of consumers wishing to express their many faces in the brand’s creation process: consumer, artistic director, content creator, public personality… It reveals consumers’ personality emancipating from all notions of age, gender or socio-professional category.

Service DIY © Gucci

3/ Engagement, a founding value

Symbol of a committed generation, values have become drives in product purchase. Acquiring a luxury object has sense for consumers only if the brand features virtuous collections, in line with their convictions. Long excluded from the luxury ecosystem, the notion of empowerment is a key factor for anxious consumers expecting a brand to have sense, and demonstrate ethical behavior and engagement. In return, they are ready to pay a higher price for more transparency, sustainability and social representation.

Them x Burberry © Burberry & Word Food Program © Balenciaga

4/ The quest for aspirational proximity

Embodied by digital native brands, the “love brand” phenomenon is gaining ground in the luxury industry. The advent of social media reinforced consumers’ desire to belong to the bling culture and their interest for new references. The link between consumers and the brand must thus be under the aegis of an aspiration proximity: customers love to feel close to their favorite celebrities while knowing them to be out of reach.

Balmain army © Slaven Vlasic:Getty

Today, customer identifies more to a brand embodied by a system of values, a lifestyle, a creative stance than to a marketed, unilateral and top-down discourse.

Pierre-Edouard Martial, Luxury Studies Director

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