Globe Media Group was thrilled to present ‘Next in Luxury,’ an intimate and exclusive gathering of the industry’s most prominent leaders to discuss the state of the luxury market and critical insights for the future.
Over 60 guests from the fashion, beauty, retail, travel, automotive, and hospitality sectors attended to engage in an insightful conversation about emerging trends and the industry’s future.
Penny Hicks, Managing Director of Client Partnerships and Commercial Operations at The Globe and Mail gave opening remarks for the event, emphasizing the invaluable role that The Globe and Mail plays in luxury across Canada.
“Millions of influential Canadians trust us to deliver the essential content they need to enrich and shape their lives. Our extensive reporting delves into the most important aspects of luxury and inspires the diverse tastes of affluent Canadians nationwide. The Globe and Mail’s Style Advisor, as well as our Arts & Pursuits platforms, provide Canadians with a guide to luxury living. With a readership of over 200,000 luxury consumers, we don’t just report on Canadian culture; we help shape it.”
The Luxury Consumer Mindset
All guests across industries shared the luxury consumer in common, and the conversation focused on genuinely understanding the luxury consumer mindset. The panellists included Lori Legaspi Moores, Vice President of Merchandising, Everything Else at SSENSE, Jeremy Wood-Ross, Chief Executive Officer, Ellie Mae, and Sarah Tuite, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Four Seasons. They joined Andrew Sardone, Editorial Director of The Globe and Mail’s Style Advisor, who framed the discussion around insights from a Globe Insiders Style Advisor study with over 800 respondents. The roundtable analyzed the evolving landscape of the luxury market, with deep dives into Gen Z, technology, and sustainability.
The Rise of Gen Z
The conversation began with a look at Gen Z as an emerging and formidable force among new luxury consumers. The panel explored how Gen Z makes purchase decisions, their desire for brands that reflect their values, and their power to influence older generations’ purchasing choices. Sarah Tuite shared insights on set-jetting and how television and movie locations inspire younger generations’ travel plans.
Technology & Innovation
The discussion also examined the impact of technology, social media, and data on the luxury market. The speakers discussed how these driving forces influence consumer behaviour and pave the way for the industry’s future. Topics included the rise in artificial intelligence, the importance of influencer marketing, and the role that real-life experiences and emotional intelligence continue to play.
Sustainability & Authenticity
The roundtable ended by looking at the enduring role of sustainability in luxury and the industry’s commitment to responsible practices and ethical considerations. The conversation centered on strategies to connect with socially conscious consumers and the importance of remaining true to your brand.
The speakers discussed the rising desire to see brands reflect more transparent production practices. Jeremy Wood-Ross talked about Ellie Mae’s store, saying, “We built it in a way where we wanted full transparency… we’re very fortunate that we’re doing most of our own production in our space. That I feel is the baseline for us, just production being transparent. We can show you how great our stitches are going to be, how we pack our labels, the kind of fabric we’re using, our cutters, all of those processes.”
Andrew Sardone shared insights from the Style Advisor study that showed:
· Quality, authenticity, and sustainability trump status and price when making purchasing decisions
· Readers are most interested in travel (89%), followed by art (83%) and food, wine, & spirits (83%)
· Print media still reigns, with 79% agreeing that reading a magazine in print is more luxurious than the digital experience
Sarah Tuite spoke to this idea of authenticity being important to brand image, saying,
“When you look at your ESG strategy, it has to be very authentic to you as a brand, so for Four Seasons, that really sits in the 127 properties, 47 countries where we operate and how we engage with the communities that we are a part of… it’s really important that you plant those roots and build those relationships.”
Engaging with unexpected audiences
This relationship between the brand and consumer was an ongoing point of discussion during the roundtable, with Lori Legaspi Moores reflecting on the growth in men’s luxury fashion and the breaking down of barriers in where men want to shop.
“Our customer has always been unexpected and unconventional because SSENSE has always been unexpected and unconventional,” she said. “If you look at our men’s and women’s wear edits, you will see duplicate products of both because, like our Bottega offering…. we try not to make choices for the customer because we want customers to have freedom of choice and to choose what they want and to be able to shop however they want on the site.”
Key Takeaways from the event
· Luxury brands need to redefine the customer path to purchase journey
· New technology and the growth of influencers on social media has changed the luxury industry, bringing categories like streetwear and menswear to the forefront
· Technology is a tool to make the customer experience better, but cannot come at the cost of human connection
· Sustainability is the baseline expectation for brands. Gen Z and Millenials are willing to pay more for luxury products that have a social impact
The discussion was an insightful presentation into the incredible wealth of untapped opportunities within the luxury market, showcasing a dynamic and forward-thinking perspective on the future, with speakers adding unique perspectives that highlighted the way forward at a time when the market is both diverse and full of potential.
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