Luxury themes for 2011

It’s a little ironic that I’m writing my predictions for 2011 in The Concorde Room at LHR, a room dedicated to a past endeavours but here goes.

Over the last couple of days I’ve read a few 2011 trend lists from the expert mavens. Sure there were some nuggets of believability but I thought I would commit the five key themes which I believe will be important;

1. VALUE, NOT PRICE

As always with the HNWI it’s not about the price point it’s about the value the luxury good or service delivers to them. That’s why the HNWI flexes between “high” and “low” spend. It’s about the quality of the experience and that is not determined by high price alone.

2. FICKLENESS

There are a number of luxury brands performing extremely well in emerging luxury markets such as China – few of them know why. They are floating on a rising tide of luxury consumption where the demand for luxury, in any form, is extreme. These brands are vulnerable to a sudden shift in taste or the emergence of a new competitor. Success can be fleeting. Strong consumer insight work and a solid innovation plan are key.

3. SUBSTANTIATION

Closely linked to Number 1. Brands must have a layered approach to their proposition so that 2 + 2 = 5. There must be many reasons to buy, to own. This is not about drowning in heritage or overly rational truths but these should be there, just beneath the surface.

4. SECRETS

Insights, revelations, dropped hints….all are the currency of luxury. The smart brands know how to formalise the disclosure of these in an informal way. Making every recipient feel special and enlightened. HNWI want to lead, want to be the first to know. Secrets are their social currency.

5. 1-2-1

It’s still all about the hand sell. Sure technology, social media etc play their part but it’s down to the human interaction. The dialogue between customer and provider. And the sale is only the beginning of this journey. Brands that think they can end the magic once the transaction is over beware.

Nothing startling, no surprises but five themes to follow.

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