The changing face of luxury: what affluent consumers want

Brian McGee

Even as the number of affluent households and high net worth individuals continues to grow, the traditional luxury goods industry is forecast to remain in a period of stagnation in high growth and mature markets. And while luxury shoppers and the desire for luxury still exists, the definition of what luxury means is changing, according to Joe Staton, Client Services Lead at GfK Market Opportunities & Innovation.

The new definition

Speaking at the MRS Luxury Research Conference, held in London in September 2016, Staton laid out four ways in which the definition of luxury is changing:

  1. Conspicuous consumption is giving way to considered consumption where materials, time and craftsmanship win against so–called badge values.
  2. High–end consumers are seeking experiences rather than goods, so fuelling the luxury travel and leisure sectors.
  3. Global sales of wearable electronics and smart devices are set to dominate the luxury agenda.
  4. Luxury retailing will increasingly differentiate itself by further integrating technology into the physical experience.