As we move into the 2020s, we can expect the luxury industry to hit a period of introspection, with brands and services taking stock of their position, ambitions and purpose. This assessment is not accidental, however. It comes at a time when unstable global wealth and the reverberation of socio-economic shifts are affecting the behaviour, monetary worth and expectations of high-net-worth consumers.
Our 2019 macrotrend Liberation Luxury explores luxury’s emerging new mindset – and how brands must respond. Published in September, the trend examines how luxury lifestyles will evolve to focus on the values of flexibility, discovery and curiosity, with luxurians becoming ever-more footloose, increasingly unpretentious yet expectant of hyper-personalisation. As luxury marketing expert Pam Danzinger notes, the luxury sector will soon be ‘less about the brands themselves and more about enabling people to become more of who they really are’.
Demonstrating Liberation Luxury in practice, the early 2020s will see luxury brands also liberate themselves from norms and traditions to seamlessly integrate into the itinerant lives of these consumers, playing out through microtrends such as Anti-aspiration Advertising, Transient Third Spaces and Privacy Platforms.
The Big Idea: Pre-loved Premium
In the luxury retail realm, brands and department stores introduced buy-back and resale schemes in 2019 designed not only to increase customer retention but crucially to inspire a circular mindset among luxury consumers.
Key examples of how this is playing out were explored in our Pre-loved Premium listicle. Among them is retailer Neiman Marcus, which this year purchased a minority stake in pre-owned luxury platform Fashionphile, becoming the first major retailer to demonstrate its commitment to normalising the luxury resale market. In Paris, meanwhile, Galeries Lafayette launched Le Good Dressing, a peer-to-peer system that rewards people for re-selling garments and accessories through its stores, while winning the retailer all-important footfall.
Taking another direction, Rohvishows how buy-back programmes can inspire loyalty. Its platform allows labels such as Isabel Marant and Stuart Weitzman to use transaction data to create personalised buy-back offers, giving shoppers a chance to exchange luxury goods for store credit towards new items. ‘Whether customers take us up on the offer or not, the resulting level of engagement is significantly higher than for a generalised email,’ explains Sara Whiffen, co-founder of Rohvi.
The Campaign: What Travel Brings You by China Airlines
What Travel Brings You, China Airlines, by Leo Burnett Taiwan
A tongue-in-cheek campaign launched during peak tourist season took a glance at some of the unexpected souvenirs Chinese tourists are bringing home from their travels.
Coinciding with the increase in outbound tourism from China, the clip from China Airlines reveals some of the highs, lows and moments people might rather forget after overseas trips. Among the two-minute ad’s characters is a man returning from the mountainous Japanese region of Hokkaido with his leg in a cast and a snapped snowboard, a woman with a positive pregnancy test after visiting Australia, and a couple landing from Las Vegas who awkwardly hug, part ways and discard their marriage certificate in an airport bin.
The advert is a clear departure from typical travel campaigns that promote beautiful or inspirational destinations, instead highlighting the modern realities and unexpected moments that can arise from international travel. As we kickstart a new decade, however, Five Emerging Travel Destinations are set to shape travellers’ quest for sensorial experiences, from Red Sea retreats to nomadic Mongolian adventures.
The Interview: Liran Wizman on luxury hotels easing over-tourism
‘When you go to a hotel, you want to experience the city from the inside out,’ Wizman tells LS:N Global. ‘The Sir Albert in Amsterdam is connected not just to the city but to the neighbourhood. Its food and beverages, activations and evening programming are used by local Amsterdam people.’
With over-tourism becoming problematic in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Ibiza – places where Sir Hotels are located – Wizman says hospitality groups should take greater care to respect and support their host regions. ‘The city of Amsterdam recently said that it is not going to open a new hotel unless it gives something unique to the city. It is really defining what it wants. Barcelona should take similar steps and only agree to open hotels that truly serve the local people as a venue,' he states.
The quest for sustainability became ever-more urgent for purveyors of hospitality in 2019, with luxury hoteliers stepping forward with industry-leading spaces. Setting the pace in 2019 was QO Amsterdam.
This luxury-conscious hotel is positioning sustainable stays as a new status symbol. Described as a ‘living building’, the hotel aims to be as energy-neutral as possible by bio-mimicking nature. It has living walls across its façade, the building uses 80% natural daylight, while bio-fuel machinery sits below the hotel to positively re-process its waste.
QO also houses hydroponic and aquaponic greenhouses on its roof, producing ingredients for the food and cocktails served at Juniper & Kin – its 21st-floor bar and fine dining restaurant – including herbs, edible flowers and cresses.
In our interview from July 2019 with Inge van Weert, QO Amsterdam’s general manager, he notes: ‘Sustainable products and services are becoming sexier. Some 20 or 30 years ago, such products didn’t look slick… [But] when it comes to sustainable hotels like ours, it makes you feel less guilty.’
Download the Future Forecast 2020 report
Now that you know what shaped 2019, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2020 reportcomprising 50 new behavioural patterns across 10 key consumer sectors, expert opinion pieces and interviews with global innovators.