The New Luxury … in an Airbnb and Tesla World

Asprey to Banyan Tree, Chanel to Dom Pérignon … “luxury” brands have enjoyed a charmed life, sustained by heritage and reputation, exclusivity and elitism.

Yet the tectonic shifts in markets, globally connected and digitally enabled, are creating a rapid change in consumer attitudes, and the strategies of brands. Economic downturn was the crying pain of a changing world, the rise of new metropolises of affluence, and the fall of geographical boundaries and socio-economic stereotypes.

Back in 2008, Lehman Brothers crashed to the ground on the same day that Stefani Germanotta launched her Fame Monster. Old institutions were left disoriented or dead, whilst Lady Gaga used the power of social media to disrupt our minds. It marked a shift to a new order for brands and aspirations, as well as economics and geopolitics.

More billionaires now live in Moscow, Hong Kong, and Shanghai than in New York, London and Paris. Consumers trust friends rather than instuitions or even brands, and word of mouth trumps the best advertising. Google searches on our smartphones influence our choices further, whilst wearable tech and personal data mean we expect any product to do much more.

Today there is a new “game” of luxury being shaped by a young generation of brands that capture the changing zeitgeist, whilst the old luxury stables of Paris and Geneva hang on to their heritage. As consumers reprioritize what they value most, so the concept of “luxury” changes. In general, time matters more, materialism matters less. Add happiness, authenticity, friendship, even mindfulness too. We are more emotional, more human, more collaborative, but also more different …

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