New Luxury - Luxury is the expression of a new, cultured rebellion: status symbols are charged with ethical added value and sustainable concerns. The luxury market is growing steadily worldwide. But what does luxury mean today?
The luxury market is growing steadily worldwide. But what does luxury mean in a time where we are always on the go and always on? At a time when the global generation sees the world as their home and material possessions are increasingly seen as ballast? In which traditional luxury brands would rather destroy their products than risk being sold at dumped prices?
Something seems to go wrong - despite all statistics. Luxury, which is defined by the fact that buyers, thanks to certain status symbols, belong to a certain group and also point outward, has served as a distinguishing feature.
Almost anyone who wants to, can afford a Gucci bag today - or just rent the red horsepower Porsche for a weekend. The democratization of the luxury markets is in full swing, following the credo of marketing philosopher Jean-Noël Kapferer: "Everyone has the right to luxury".
The true elite consumes luxury in a different way
The philosopher Lambert Wiesing describes Luxury as a self-chosen anti-value, as a rebellion against a complex and uncertain world. Luxury is thus defined less and less about the object and its ownership, but increasingly becomes an expression of an individual lifestyle and value.
As a rebellion against a careless consumption of luxury brands that promise high-end products but at the same time accept unfair and environmentally harmful manufacturing conditions, sustainable luxury is becoming more and more popular.
In the ultra-local trend, the principle is reversed
The high quality and luxury of products are determined by their origin, context of production and raw materials. Ultralocal products are exclusively defined by their origin and manufacture.
In the year 2017, the authors Jem Bendell and Anthony Kleanthous already spoke of "Deeper Luxury" in a WWF report: The growing awareness of consumers for environmental and social problems is the biggest cultural shift of the 21st century.
In the meantime, various companies are tackling this global challenge. Entrepreneurs are not primarily about offering luxury products, but about solving problems. For example, Tesla's Roadster did not aim to launch a luxury sports car, but to fulfill its self-proclaimed mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy.
Sustainable Luxury can be considered a disruptive innovation
Sustainable luxury can be understood as a disruptive innovation, as pioneers usually do not come from the luxury industry itself. They put aspects at focus, which previously did not play any or at least a major role for luxury brands. Disruptors often operate across borders and industries, invest in many different small projects and are characterized by determined profit growth.
At first glance, their actions often seem paradoxical, they break with familiar patterns, and visions often alternate between megalomania and world improvement. However, these visionaries are always driven by a concern that manifests itself in products or services.
Consuming these objects also focuses on the concern: you consume something because you share the values that the company embodies, and you want to support the pursuit of those goals. Namely, sustainability has its price. Anyone who pursues a mission is not simply about cost reduction.
Purpose is the biggest goal
Although companies are increasingly calling for a purpose - a higher purpose and a clear purpose - so far, only 18 percent of German and even only 11 percent of internationally active companies have worked out a company objective in their brand claim. More than half of the organizations emphasized the rational benefits of the product offered.
Nevertheless, it is clear: More and more consumers expect an eco-social behavior of companies and brands
The Edelman Earned Brand Study 2018 finds that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers worldwide buy or boycott a brand solely for their position on a social or political issue - an increase of 13 percentage points over the previous year.
More than half (53 percent) are even convinced that brands can do more than governments to solve social ills. Especially for 35-year-olds the concern of a company is important. This combination of luxury and sustainability brings the lifestyle of eco-hedonism to life: it's about living individually and luxuriously while doing well in a socially beneficial way.
Source: Zukunftsinstitut from the trend study FUTURE PRODUCTS, In 9 theses and 91 innovations, learn how to succeed in future-proof product development. This article was an excerpt from Thesis 6: New Luxury.