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The Luxury Market Is Changing: How To Be Relevant To The Customer |  December 23, 2015 (0 comments)


While every year brings change, this year seems to have brought more than most. At The Centurion, we know the retail landscape continues to evolve. To help you start out 2016 on the best note, we asked a variety of industry experts for their take on dealing with these changes. Each replied from their own viewpoint, offering strategies and insights into the changes the year ahead will bring. Our ninth installment is from Andrea Hansen, founder and president of LuxeIntelligence, specializing in brand intelligence and business development. Hansen believes the current state of malaise in the industry stems directly from the disconnect between traditional and modern views of luxury and a lack of understanding about how consumers’ perceptions of luxury have changed. --Hedda Schupak

New York, NY—I have been spending a lot of time (sometimes sleepless nights) on this topic. The latest statistics about the dramatic increase in independent retail closures don't surprise me but they sadden me nonetheless. I think they're not happening just because people don't want to go into their parents’ business; they're happening because the business in general is just not interesting anymore.

There are many factors contributing to the general feeling of malaise. If one follows the supply chain, the price cuts by De Beers and other suppliers reflect a general distrust of the industry's ability to move product down the pipeline. But why is that?

There is the crisis of advertising. And there is a banking crisis and lack of interest from financial institutions to support the industry—but again, why?

My approach may be simplistic but I do believe that retailers forgot the basic principles of what made them successful in the first place: listen to the consumer, understand what they want and how they want it, and then over-deliver a great product with a great, authentic story with a strong emotional drive.

The fact that a $6 dollar cup of coffee or $99 Amazon fire stick are standards of luxury to the new generation show that we simply forgot to understand how to be relevant to the consumer (not just millennials) that want to engage with brands at a different level, and feel fulfilled as much by the discovery than they expected to be by the product. The mistake our industry makes is to apply values of luxury as we were taught to the new generation. Luxury for them is just the difference [between ordinary and luxury] and whether it's coffee, technology, travel, adventure, dining, or product, those are the luxuries that they’re willing to invest money in.

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