The concept of luxury is expanding and evolving. Consumers are demanding greater choice, allowing them to spend more on what matters most to them. Global mass brands are giving way to niche brands as consumers at all income levels seek products, services, and experiences that reflect their personal identity. Consumers are seeking products that are unique rather than exclusive, they value experiencing over acquiring, and are interested in story more than brand.
Traditional luxury brands must evolve to stay relevant in the luxury market. Continuing to secure their reputation as one of the finest luxury brands in the world, Hermès have been travelling their exhibition “Hermès at Work”, showcasing their craftsmanship and proving that they are more than a well known name. In the exhibition, Hermès artisans demonstrate in the flesh the work that goes into creating their bags, watches, gloves, scarves, ties and more. Consumers get to see for themselves that Hermès doesn’t just have a heritage name but that behind their excellent reputation is a rich history of quality design.
A newer player in the luxury landscape is Le Labo from NYC, which was founded 11 years ago to be an alternative to the rising tide of conformity in perfumery. They make luxury perfumes which are freshly hand-formulated upon order, as well as hand-poured candles with an emphasis on hand-picked ingredients. Le Labo is certainly luxury without being traditional and despite being so new. Their personalised approach along with a focus on natural ingredients and artisanal expertise gives them the status that luxury seekers are after.
An example of the new luxury from the Outerspace product design portfolio is the Tastic Neo for IXL Home. The Neo is a 3-in-1 exhaust fan, ceiling light and electric heater for the bathroom. Unlike the small, low-powered options available on the market, the Tastic incorporates three bright downlights and a powerful, efficient and quiet in-line electric fan. Rather than round heat bulbs, a linear IR element is recessed behind a frosted tempered glass fascia. Protruding bulbous plastic fascia and dusty vent grilles are replaced with a low-profile genuine metal frame and integrated vent apertures.
When launched, the Neo was priced well above its nearest competitor, and created a new premium category in the segment. Yet before long, it was the market leader. The Neo was a luxury trend setter.
Neo leveraged several insights:
Retail builders are gaining market share. Houses and ensuite bathrooms are getting larger. The building industry is adopting more stringent standards, including better-sealed homes, necessitating active venting. But the underlying trend is this: people are spending longer hours working and commuting, and they’re spending a much higher proportion of their incomes on accommodation, leaving less disposable income to spend on external entertainment, resulting in more at-home entertainment and relaxation. In a word, staycation. As a result, the gourmet kitchen is replacing the restaurant, the home theatre is replacing the cinema and the ensuite is replacing the day spa. Upgrading your bathroom has become an easy way to invest in your most valuable asset, add some luxury to your time-poor life, while saving you money by letting you pamper yourself at home.
Traditional forms of luxury may be dead, but the new values of luxury – quality, craftsmanship and authenticity – are stronger and more accessible than ever.
If you’re interested in how you can use megatrends to increase the value of your products please get in touch!