LUXURY MARKET TRENDS
Our Editor in Chief and Luxury Lifestyle Presenter Richard Crawford of Richard Crawford Luxury shares his perspective on the luxury sphere.
As an expert on the luxury market, you travel a lot; what changes in audiences’ preferences did you notice in 2014?
I have noticed in the last few years that consumers are learning to appreciate the experience of luxury more. Its not just about the brand name or its product function, its about understanding creative process or ideals and making an emotional connection with the brand. A more in depth appreciation leads to a much fuller and integrated experience for the consumer and ultimately an extremely satisfying one. It’s not unusual now to see brands offer an experiential and interactive element as part of the sales approach and consumers are quick to participate.
What in your view are the features that distinguish a luxury brand from an excellent quality brand?
For me there are three main elements that define a luxury brand, Exclusivity, Identity, and Authenticity. Obviously pricing prevents affordability to everyone and anyone and requires discerning choice. Coupled with limited availability this constitutes an exclusivity. Luxury brands project an identity to their consumers real or imagined and provide a sense of membership or belonging. Finally authenticity is achieved through the link to a story, founder, creator and original idea. It gives the consumer or buyer a chance to be part of something special, something pure in its origin.
What segment of luxury business is obviously going ahead of others spheres this year?
The luxury travel segment sees continued growth this year. Consumer attitudes are leaning toward experiential luxury. Demand for exclusive, unique and adventurous experiences is at an all time high. The world is becoming a more accessible place and the digital information available to the consumer takes a lot of the guesswork out of travel.
What do you foresee for the industry in 2015 and from luxury market in future?
I see continued growth rate over the next few years in the luxury market place. China, Russia, South America and the Middle East being the obvious hotbeds, but I think it’s important that the value of luxury is not lost in the increased consumerism.
A brands story is it’s biggest asset and I think many brands recognize, in the interest of their longevity, that they have a responsibility to continue to communicate their legacy to their consumers in a way that is engaging, educational and authentic. At the same time the consumer has a responsibility to explore, research and absorb all the information made available to them so that the overall luxury experience is about give and take so that it can be fully appreciated.
Superior customer experience is a must and brands will utilize a more personal and appealing approach to their sales and messaging through person-to-person interaction and use of ambassadorial programs.
Brands in the luxury market include two core components: quality and a desire to possess the products of this brand (status issue). Forecasting for 2014-2015, what do you think is more important — quality or status?
For me the integrity of any brand is closely associated with its quality. The consumer is more savvy today and has more information at their fingertips than ever before so its important the brands continue to keep their high standards of quality. Ultimately there is no status in owning poor quality.
Richard Crawford is the Editor at Large for EAT LOVE SAVOR Magazine, Richard Crawford Luxury, luxury lifestyle host and presenter and Luxury Lifestyle Awards global Spokesman.
Interview published in partnership with Luxury Lifestyle Awards