Hardcore traditional perceptions of luxury are evolving regionally and globally, presenting new challenges and approaches to ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI), key industry figures reveal.
“We see that luxury is no longer about being exclusive, but rather about how special and authentic the experience is,” Lindsay Miller, the managing director of Dubai Design District, revealed during the first plenary session of the arab luxury world conference, held on June 1 and 2 at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi.
The first plenary session brought together David Friedman, the president and co-founder of Wealth X; Isabelle Harvie-Watt, the CEO and country manager of Havas Media Group Italy; Juergen Schmitz, the managing director at infiniti Middle East and Mohammed Abdulmajid Seddiqi, the vice president of sales at Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons, as well as Miller, to discuss the future of luxury in the region, as well as globally.
The panellists agreed that today’s luxury consumer is international and has a global reach, a positive element that some brands take advantage of, but which many others may find challenging.
“One of the challenges that brands face today is that their clients live in one place but shop at another,” Friedman said, discussing the majority of Chinese and Russian clients, who have a more global behaviour due to the economic and security challenges that they face.
The essence of global living has increased the importance of luxury experiences, boosting them to a higher ranking than luxury goods.
“Luxury experiences are far outperforming any [other] sector in the luxury goods today,” Harvie-Watt explained, noting that technology – if nurtured at the heart of brands – can help brands better understand their clients and offer the right experience.
Social media and technology might be harmful if not used with discretion and cannot, ultimately, replace the human element.
“Social media is playing the role in passing the right or wrong message to the end consumers… But it is the job of retailers to finalise the right message,” Seddiqi said.
“[The] end consumer needs to feel the product – feel comfort while buying the product – and that’s the job of the retailer,” he added.
After all, it seems that brands are still adapting to the changing horizons of the luxury-related sectors. arab luxury world, therefore, serves as a suitable platform for brands, distributors and researchers to try and unveil the future of luxury.