Luxury in 2021
22 : 12 : 21

Luxury is learning how to be more accessible without diluting brand image, giving rise to immersive experiences and more progressive role models.

The Trend: Anti-ostentation Attitudes

Gucci's partnership with local farmer Gerald Stratford on the Growing Guide

While there will always be a demand for luxury goods and services, in 2021 we witnessed Anti-ostentation Attitudes gaining strength, forcing brands to develop more meaningful, accessible and honest communications. Indeed, the pandemic has put the luxury industry’s marketing practices under the microscope, while rising inflation, faltering health services and supply chain shortages mean flashy demonstrations of wealth are falling out of favour.

In China, the government has gone as far as preventing celebrities and influencers from displaying ‘extravagant pleasures’ on social media platforms. Meanwhile, in Europe, Bottega Veneta faced a backlash for flouting Covid restrictions with an event at the Berghain nightclub in Berlin. ‘It's become distasteful to say ‘look how ostentatious I am’ when you know so many people have lost jobs or have had their loved ones hospitalised,’ notes Elma Beganovich, co-founder of marketing firm Amra & Elma.

For the luxury sector, the challenge is remaining relevant during a time of global unrest and rising inequality. Electing progressive role models can help companies support social, environmental and community causes, as Burberry has demonstrated with it Voices of Tomorrow campaign.

The Big Idea: Luxury’s pursuit of premium homeware

In April, we spotlighted the luxury labels entering the Premium Homeware market, seizing the opportunity to reach new customers and diversify their product offering. This reflects the growing importance of the home, as people continue to work, learn and shelter from their living spaces.

As a result, the global homeware market is soaring. It could be worth £129bn ($180bn, €149bn) by the end of 2022, with home decoration forecast to secure a 19% market share in the same period (source: Fact.MR)

It comes as no surprise, then, that brands such as Prada, Loewe and Saint Laurent have launched homeware lines. Appealing to ‘generation rent’ – Millennial and Generation Z consumers who are keen to transform their spaces with decorative objects – luxury companies have begun producing cushions, clocks, scented candles, blankets and glassware.

Further, with the environmental crisis front of mind for many luxury shoppers, artisanship and sustainability are shaping homeware collaborations with ethical suppliers, from Marni's Zooterico range to and Maison Bengal's alternative to fast homeware.

Prada Homeware, UK

The Campaign: Shoppers turn on for Telfar TV

Telfar TV

In September, New York-based brand Telfar developed a 24-hour live-stream channel that combines shopping with entertainment. Tapping into the rise of Luxtainment, Telfar TV spotlights the work of Black, Indigenous artists and creatives of colour while advertising key pieces from the brand’s collections.

Available on Apple TV and Google Play, the channel rewards dedicated viewers by granting them exclusive access to regularly sold-out products. The programming includes occasional QR codes that redirect audience members to rare items from the brand’s collections. By exploring visual entertainment as a marketing strategy, the brand is aiming to capitalise on the prolonged engagement required to watch a TV show or streaming channel.

With Telfar TV, the label demonstrates how a hybrid of content and commerce can prove profitable and popular. As we look ahead to 2022, we can anticipate the luxury industry creating more immersive, entertainment-led retail and brand experiences; in particular, as the metaverse continues to develop, offering boundless opportunities for immersive brand moments.

The Interview: Red DAO on luxury’s NFT opportunity

This Outfit Does Not Exist (TODNE) This Outfit Does Not Exist (TODNE)

In November, we spoke to Daniella Loftus, a member of the digital fashion collective Red DAO, about the metaverse and non-fungible token (NFT) opportunity for the luxury sector.

At the time of speaking, Red DAO had recently purchased Dolce & Gabbana’s inaugural NFT, the Doge Crown, for £4.3m ($5.7m, €5m). By investing in and collecting NFTs, Red DAO is helping to establish digital fashion as a new asset class.

Comprising 40 people with backgrounds in finance, cryptocurrency and fashion, Loftus explains how Red DAO's members congregate on messaging platform Discord, where they vote on which digital fashion NFTs to collect and buy. By pooling together their capital, they can purchase high-value assets, creating a market for digital collectibles.

With an estimated 3bn gamers expected to be online globally by 2023 (source: Newzoo), Loftus notes the opportunities for brands – and the new approaches required. ‘Luxury brands aren’t taking digital fashion seriously. It’s currently being used as a marketing tool to redirect attention to physical clothes, but it should be its own diversified revenue stream,' she says.

The Space: La Samaritaine’s civic luxury approach

La Samaritaine Paris Pont-Neuf by LVMH

After seven years of redevelopment, in July 2021 the Parisian department store La Samaritaine re-opened to customers. Acquired by LVMH in 2010, the historic site on Paris’s Right Bank is considered a landmark of the industrial age. First built in 1869with hand-painted floral motifs and ornate ironwork – the space has long been symbolic of luxury.

Preserving the history of the site while ushering the building into a new age, LVMH enlisted the help of 800 craftsmen to conserve the original accents and details of the structure. The refurbished store houses 600 brands and 50 exclusive partnerships as well as a luxury rooftop hotel, restaurants, spas and other services.

Beyond its vast retail offering, however, the building also provides 96 affordable housing units and a nursery for 80 children. By focusing on community and accessibility, the venue is transforming the luxury department of old into a welcoming assembly point for locals. Tapping into the tenets of Retail Redux, LVMH demonstrates how luxury spaces can help uplift those living around them.

Download the Future Forecast 2022 report

Now that you know what shaped 2021, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2022 report comprising 50 new trends across 10 key consumer sectors, insights from our analysts and interviews with global innovators.

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