Elegance And Ethics – BW Businessworld

A world stung by a virus is redefining many things, the billion dollar luxury market, among them. Read of how consumer choices are now guided not just by comfort, but also commitment to sustainability and ethics

The “best” in extreme elegance and immense comfort also commands an exorbitant price – and that notion of elegance and comfort changes over time. Over the last few years, ethics and sustainability have begun to count along with comfort in defining aesthetics and glamour. Shoppers of luxury goods today know exactly what they want from a brand and do not baulk at demanding it and today they want a product pledged to sustain the planet. This new awareness makes consumers conscious of the values of the brands they are aligning with.

The market for luxury products has been as hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as any other and reports caution of a 35 per cent contraction in the luxury goods market in 2020. The depredation of wealth by a pandemic on the loose has pushed the world “back to the basics”. Fashion brands have reported that their lines of comfort-wear sold out as ‘work-from-home’ became the norm across the country. Technology-driven companies reported better earnings as stay-at-home consumers splurged on high-end gadgets.

The restriction on movement nudged buyers to move online for their purchases. These last few months compelled luxury brands to resort to innovative ways to engage with consumers, re-thinking and re-strategising for the “new normal”. The boom in digital began even before the pandemic forced restrictions on movements and gatherings – Covid-19 simply hurried along the transition. Reports suggest that by 2025, online channels could represent up to 30 per cent of the market.

The charm of the brick-and-mortar stores are unlikely to fade away, though. For luxury buyers the ritual of selecting stores, being  fêted by sales staff, sipping that fizzy drink, are all part of  the shopping experience. The need to “touch-and-feel” once-in-a-lifetime purchases is another reason the brick-and-mortar stores will always retain their place in the genre of luxury goods. Even so, a shift toward digital purchase is inevitable and luxury brands will have to find a balance between the two.

Our cover story in this issue maps these and other upcoming trends in the luxury market. In other segments of the magazine we study the market for luxury in fashion, automobiles, technology and travel among other sectors. We talk to experts about the impact the pandemic has had on their industries and the outlook for the future. Of course, we also bring to you all the regular features and columns.

I do hope you enjoy reading this issue, just as much as we did compiling it. Happy Reading!

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