Covid has changed how affluent consumers think, feel and behave, and there is now an ongoing shift from reach, to relevance. Consumers increasingly demand authenticity, and judge brands on their actions, not words.
The latest luxury marketing trends highlight how marketers need to get ahead of the game and proactively bring their insight and customer knowledge to the table. By collaborating with product teams, advising the board on what customers want, helping their business to understand the passion points of their audience, and stating where they are falling short, luxury brand marketers can ensure that in 2022 their business is primed for success, and that they will be promoting brands and products with meaning to an audience that craves them.
Relevance’s commercial director, Niki McMorrough, offers a quick-fire summary coupled with visual real-world examples, to inspire luxury digital marketers in the post-Covid dawn. Read on to discover the top 10 luxury marketing trends 2022, find out why they are important, and what other brands are already doing in this space.
Luxury marketing trends 2022
1 – Trends 2022: Consider how your luxury brand can offer localised and unique experiences
Customers are tired of global homogenisation and need greater justification for travel in light of the climate crisis. Why should they travel for an experience they can get at home? Some examples of luxury brands bringing localised and unique experiences are:
- Anya Hindmarch created a whole Village near her flagship store in Pont Street, harnessing the roots of the brand and building a community connection worth visiting.
- Stella McCartney is celebrating her glocal community by launching regional popups which celebrate their local business, culture and retail community through StellaCommunity.
- Mandarin Oriental strives to ensure that each Mandarin Oriental property has its own unique personality, to celebrate local culture and customs, ensuring a unique experience at every venue.
- High quality watchmaker Jacob & Co launched an Instagram page specifically for the Swiss market.
2 – Trends 2022: Consider how your luxury brand is going to ensure that its ethics shine more brightly than its aesthetics
To Millennials, Gen Z and Alphas, the environment is not just a cause, it is their future. Therefore, they will reject brands that don’t show true commitment to the environment. Some examples of luxury brands putting ethics before aesthetics include:
- Anya Hindmarch’s I am a plastic bag initiative, which went to great lengths to develop a luxurious fabric from reused plastics, worthy of a luxury product.
- Chanel’s Culture Fund, which seeks to champion equality of voice.
- Jo Malone’s healing through horticulture uses the wonders of nature to improve mental health and wellbeing.
3 – Trends 2022: Explore how you will secure your luxury brand’s presence in China
According to Bain & Co, by 2025, 48% of luxury shopping will be carried out by Chinese shoppers, while Morgan Stanley states that Chinese consumer spending is set to double by 2030.
According to a report by McKinsey, in 2020, Chinese luxury spending increased 45% versus a global contraction of 20%, and 70% of Chinese luxury purchases are now completed at home.
HNW populations in Asian regions are growing exponentially, while in Europe they are declining gradually, according to Wealth-X.
Luxury brands securing their presence in China include:
- Gucci and Farfetch, which launched flagship stores on TMall Luxury Pavilion in 2021, connecting over 3,500 products with 770 million Chinese consumers who didn’t previously have access to them. TMall Luxury Pavillion is now home to more than 200 brands in China, spanning fashion, beauty, watches and luxury cars.
- Anime, comics and games platform BiliBili is tipped to be the next big opportunity for Gen Z luxury in China. Fendi promoted it’s Peekaboo Bar while Louis Vuitton promoted its League of Legends virtual collection.
4 – Trends 2022: Make sure your luxury brand appeals to wealthy women
According to Wealth-X, the global proportion of UHNW women increased from 6.6% in 2016 to 9.9% in 2020, and is growing faster than the proportion of UHNW men, but for every £1 of venture capital (VC) investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, despite the fact that corporations with at least 30% women on the board, are ten times more profitable than all-male teams.
Wealthy women are on a mission to promote gender equality, and many have launched their own foundations such as Emma Watson’s HeforShe, Beyonce’s Beygood and Lady Gaga’s Born this Way foundation. When marketing to UHNW women, brands need to show women being successful, while being emotionally open, and prove they have an altruistic, empathetic and philanthropic way of doing business that is female-centric to the core. Organisations who have taken note include:
- Estee Lauder is leading the way at #19 of Forbes’ female-friendly companies 2021. Zalando and Hermes made their way into the top 100, but luxury as a whole is lagging.
- Patek Phillippe used this video to celebrate their belief-driven female audience.
- Anna Jones, the first female CEO in Hearst’s 100 year history, founded AllBright, the global career network for women to supercharge their careers.
5 – Trends 2022: Explore how you will make sure your luxury brand product can be delivered digitally, as well as in the real world
You may have only just heard of the Metaverse, but it’s been gathering pace, waiting for it’s tipping point, which came this year in the form of immersive open source gaming universes Roblox, Fortnite and Decentraland combined with the need for everyone to stay at home due to Covid and the ability to prove digital ownership via Non-Fungible Tokens. Now that these building blocks are in place, the race to build the Metaverse is on, with tech giants investing significantly. Brands have already started experimenting with using the Metaverse to distribute and promote existing and new products. Some great luxury brand examples include:
- Instead of a real life catwalk show, Balenciaga created their own game ‘Afterworld: Age of Tomorrow’ set in a dystopian 2031, to launch their Fall 2021 collection, as well as a phygital (physical + digital) limited-edition collection that customers could buy in Fortnite and the real-world.
- Dress X is the company selling digital versions of current fashion collections, for influencers to ‘wear’ on social media without ever seeing or touching the real thing.
- Zed Run is doing big business in digital race horses, while other companies have sold digital real estate, art and more.
6 – Trends 2022: Consider how your luxury brand will enable your audience to meet like-minded people who are nothing like them
There’s a shift happening in the way we socialise. While Gen X and Boomers sought cliques who could be found at exclusive private members’ club such as London’s Carlton Club and Annabel’s, Millennials seek new experiences and want to belong to a tribe of individuals, perhaps with shared passions, interests and values but not identical backgrounds (perhaps because social media is as much ‘echo chamber’ as anyone can take). Some great examples include:
- Airbnb Lux curated their most exclusive and fascinating hosts to stay with.
- Carlyle & Co: “We are less interested in what you have, who you know, and what you do (like Soho House) and more interested in your personality, interests, passions, and stories.”
- Brands creating inter-customer networking groups giving clients access to other people who share the brand’s ethos and consumer wealth level, such as Rolls Royce Whispers and Bentley Network.
7 – Trends 2022: Think about how you will incorporate re-commerce into your business model
Resale represents more than 50% of all cars sold worldwide and Max Bittner, from Vestiaire Collective, believes fashion will go the same way “because by buying second hand handbags instead of new ones, you can help reduce fashion’s carbon emissions by up to 90%.”
Sacha Newall, founder and CEO of MyWardrobeHQ agrees. “Car marques have embraced resale for generations without diminishing their value by their own resale offering, indeed managing their own re-commerce allows brands to control the presentation and the price of resale – this is a solution MyWardrobeHQ is now offering to the fashion industry.”
Bittner adds: “There is somewhere between half a trillion and a trillion dollars’ worth of luxury goods in people’s closets, and probably half of it is unworn. Resale is a fundamental solution to the enormous environmental challenges that we face.”
Gen Z and millennials find buying ‘pre-loved’ and ‘re-selling’ second nature, and it won’t be long before Gen X and Boomers catch up. So, luxury will become defined by its residual value, which can go up, as well as down due to scarcity, cult and promotion.
- My Wardrobe HQ (rental), Reflaunt x Harvey Nichols (resale), Vestiaire Collective – pre-loved.
- Apple (buy back), House of Minimus (pre-loved collections).
- StockX – auction house for preloved items.
8 – Trends 2022: Explore how you can use resources more wisely
Millennials, Gen Z and Alphas reject brands who waste carelessly. Using the ESG+ model luxury brands need to make a conscious effort in environment, sustainability, governance and innovation. Luxury brands demonstrating that they are also a sustainable brand include:
- Apple showed their commitment to sustainability by removing items from the box.
- Garrard have successfully achieved their Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark.
- Quintessentially have released their ‘Impact Investing’ paper.
9 – Trends 2022: Consider how you will think differently in order to break the mould of your industry and stand out
If Millenials and Gen Z are craving ‘something different’ in the people they meet, it’s also the case in the content they consume. Bland ads and stories that could be attributable to any luxury brand are not doing any favours with this audience who identify as much with a brand’s meaning and purpose, than with its kudos and credentials. So, how can a brand muster the confidence to stand out, not to fit in with the luxury crowd? The below luxury brands have mastered it.
- Proving that this trend is by no means a passing fad, Kenzo’s enduring Dancing Girl ad elegantly shows that sophistication is not about conforming to etiquette, but about expressing individuality in spite of social norms, and sometimes just needing to let go.
- Disruption is also a way of thinking differently, and can apply to both business models as well as luxury marketing tactics. For example, Patreon and Discord both made it onto CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list.
- Kevin Chesters, author of ‘The Creative Nudge’ simply says “If you know what you’re doing, stop doing it.”
10 – Trends 2022: Explore how your luxury brand can support the consumer space movement
As our frame of reference expands beyond planet Earth, the need for global collaboration crystallises. Indeed Jayne Poynter co-founded Space Perspective out of a strong belief that human society will be improved when thousands, or even millions of us have experienced the quintessential astronaut experience of seeing Earth from above. “It profoundly changes your perspective and behaviour, for example, many Astronauts get involved in social and environmental causes. It will have a huge positive impact on society’.
Don’t forget, our urgent need to explore space is intrinsically linked to the climate crisis, so always aim for a net zero model.
Partner with a consumer space experience provider:
- Under Armour collaborated with Virgin Galactic to create consumer space flight suits. Can your brand authentically elevate the customer experience on these pioneering space offerings, too?
- Tesla collaborated with SpaceX to create the ‘Starman’ stunt, launching a Tesla into orbit. Elon owns both companies, but it still counts as a collaboration.
- Branded Goods: Science Museum curated a collection of branded goods to reinforce their science edutainment.
- Unistellar & Nikon have collaborated to enable consumers to see space in a new light.
Relevance can help ultra-luxury brands reach and resonate with High-Net-Worth-Individuals by profiling your target audience to create actionable insights about their wants, needs, behaviours, personalities and values. Our full service strategic, creative and technical marketing support can also help high-end brands to deliver, measure and refine their marketing campaigns to these wealthy audiences. If you would like to learn more about our 360 digital marketing services, contact our team today.