Your Luxury Your Way
I have some news for you. You have the right to enjoy your idea of luxury your way. Recently, I’ve been seeing a rash of social media, blog posts and opinion pieces disparaging how people choose to consume luxury. While this sort of snobbery is nothing new, it’s disconcerting to hear lots of moaning about how the word luxury has lost its meaning and many consumers (especially Millennials and GenZs) do not appreciate true luxury. This has got me thinking about the evolution of luxury and if indeed luxury purveyors and naysayers have the right to police how anyone experiences, enjoys or consumes luxury.
The Evolution of Luxury
What defines luxury has changed over time with luxury buyers and sellers playing a significant role in this change. There was a time centuries ago when luxury was viewed as overly indulgent, amoral and the embodiment of some of the most deadly sins. That’s because luxury has always intrigued, confounded and maybe even angered people, particularly in environments where disparities in income are very pronounced. By some people, it is still seen as a vulgar display of wealth, while to some it’s part of the natural order of their particular environment.
What is clear though, is that to some people, it has become synonymous with certain brands and a certain lifestyle. The shift from criticism to acceptance to virtuous lies in how luxury has been positioned as a status marker and these status boosters can range from Birkins to even to NFT art.
Your Divine Right to Luxury?
We know that some sectors of the luxury market suffered economic downturn due to the pandemic. However, demand for some luxury goods and services is actually on the rise.
Last year, Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton said: “LVMH showed remarkable resilience against the unprecedented health crisis the world experienced in 2020. Our priority has been to protect the health and safety of our employees and our clients and we have provided direct support in the fight against the pandemic. Our Maisons have shown great agility and creative energy in continuing to bring to life our customers’ dreams through a unique digital experience thereby further strengthening their desirability. Our focus on dynamic innovation was accompanied by strong commitments to the environment, sustainability and inclusion. We are starting 2021 with the pleasure of welcoming the iconic jewelry Maison Tiffany and its teams to our Group. In a context that remains uncertain, even with the hope of vaccination giving us a glimpse of an end to the pandemic, we are confident that LVMH is in an excellent position to build upon the recovery for which the world wishes in 2021 and to further strengthen our lead in the global luxury market.”
The part of his statement that caught my attention is this bit “Our focus on dynamic innovation was accompanied by strong commitments to the environment, sustainability and inclusion“ If the biggest luxury house on the planet states their commitment to these values of inclusivity, values that I might add resonate very deeply with GenZs and Millennials in particular, who is anyone to query how they choose to consume or experience luxury? Who made anyone the gatekeepers and bastion of luxury consumption? Do I think that there is sometimes an education piece around luxury, yes, but ultimately the buyer decides on why, how and where they get their luxury from and we must not forget that. I suspect that the disconnect between some luxury sellers and the new generation of consumers they are trying to reach is precisely because they forget that important fact.
Elizabeth Solaru is a luxury business consultant who works with brands who wish to enter the luxury sector. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07958069116 to discuss how she may help your business.