In these times of political upheaval and the current generalised sense of uncertainty, the luxury world and its ever-changing trends seems to be reflecting something more widespread, both in terms of attitudes and expenditure.
That does make a certain kind of sense, given that the numbers of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) is vastly increasing, according to research mentioned at the recent Stylus Innovation Forum that suggested they would increase to 227,000 worldwide by 2025, 41% up from 2016. (www.stylus.com)
Experience, acceptance of access over ownership, and the rise of consumption were identified by Stylus spokespeople as three leading factors steering change in the luxury world. The luxury market is responding to the current sense of volatilty, they suggested, albeit in its own high class way – by becoming increasingly experiential and time focussed, rather than materialistic and status driven.
“There’s a definitely a shift from the material to the immaterial. The most powerful slow burn change is the rise of non material luxury,” said Suzy Menkes at the recent Conde Nast Luxury Conference (www.condenastinternational.com/initiatives/cond%C3%A9-nast-international-luxury-conference/). Yes, really: luxury consumers are showing signs of mindfulness, wisdom, conscientious expenditure and they are asserting their individualism too.
Privacy is the new luxury, comes the message, as high end mobile phones (eg. Solarin, just under $14,000) offer HNWI, for whom information is their greatest asset now, a new way of keeping data on the down-low and encrypting messages. Companies like Katim offer end to end protection for phone, operating systems, apps as unveiled by Dark Matter where ‘if you need to ask how much it costs, you’re not serious…’ (www.theregister.co.uk/2017/02/28/darkmatter_secure_phone/).
Protection of information is almost as worthy as safety and security perhaps, now that luxury bunkers complete with swimming pool, enough food and drink for 3 years, and video footage of prairie above aren’t just relegated to television dramas (such as Sky Atlantic’s Billions, which recently included a bunker for billionaire hedge fund manager, Bobby Axlerod). The Kansas Survival Condo for the Superrich is a real thing, with a full floor costing $3 million and a half floor $1.5million dollars (around $30,000 in 2012).
And then there’s health and wellbeing. We posted a blog late last year about the rise in genetic testing as an increasingly ‘normal’ move amongst corporate types, prior to starting any kind of health kick. (See our blog on iamyiam here: http://rebucklaw.co.uk/want-luxury-knowing/) This focus on bespoke nutrition and wellness plans, along with the explicit acknowledgement that everybody has their own genetic blueprint, is reflected by the likes of various testing services including DNA unwrapped (www.dnaunwrapped.com/) meal subscription service, Habit, which offers a testing service and then creates food tailored to your DNA and metabolism (https://habit.com/) and of course the top Personal Trainers and Wellbeing Coaches, available to advise 24/7 at the press of a button, and the payment of a hefty monthly retainer.
More on luxury trends (eg. travel) coming soon.