Luxury brands must look to embrace the recent trend of casualisation and attempt to understand better its younger clients, says Pierre Mercier, global leader of The Boston Consulting Group’s retail supply chain, in the run-up to next week's Luxury Law Summit in London. The summit, which aims to bring together a host of luxpreneurs, designers, luxury business leaders, general counsels and specialist legal teams, to share ideas and insights into how best to navigate the luxury sector, is taking place in Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel.
A question of balance
Mr Mercier has highlighted key challenges and opportunities ahead of the gathering, commenting that luxury’s burgeoning youth-driven market sees a millennial client with different values, expectations, and spending behaviours than that of previous generations. The industry, he says, must seek to capture the opportunities this market provides. Mercier namechecks the rise of the casual ‘athleisure’ trend as an example, signalling increased opportunities for luxury brands to be relevant in a wider context.The challenge is to balance this new informality with the exclusiveness and rarity of luxury goods.
While he suggests that gender equality is less of an issue for the sector owing to a ‘typically heavy female workforce’, he recognises the need for greater diversity. “Diversity more broadly is an issue that should be treated as an opportunity, where brands should think about how to fully reflect newer generation’s tastes and aspirations in the boardroom. They need to ensure they have a representative leadership structure that can help better recognise what shoppers from China, India and the Middle East really expect from luxury brands now, as well as keeping an eye on markets such as Africa for tomorrow.’
Other key challenges facing luxury businesses over the next five years include the ability to manage omni-channels, reconciling the need for consistently flawless buying experiences with robust, engineered processes. Mercier cautions adopting technology for technology’s sake, and counsels it must improve a shopper’s experience and aid competitiveness for it to be useful.