Musings March 22 2016

Short article by us (featuring... you guessed it - us) submitted to the Future Of Luxury.

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We hear ad nauseam about the growing impact of Millennials as consumers and in the workplace. By 2020, we will make up half of the global workforce. What defines Millennials and what does this mean for the future of luxury?

Millennials are coming of age at a time of economic dislocation and a crisis of confidence in institutions from governments and corporations to FIFA. It’s also a time of ever increasing anxiety about our impact on the environment and climate change.

Perhaps as a consequence of the turbulent markets or their empty pockets Millennials preference experiences. However, it would be wrong to think of us as ascetic. For Millennials, luxury is not elitist or signified by a waitlist, price tag or logo. It is simply best in class design, quality and personal service. Luxury might be an Apple Watch with a customized band, the elegant Dyson tower fan or the perfect bowl of ramen from a 12-seater restaurant in Tokyo.

Millennial consumers are a diverse bunch. They’re as likely to be from Beijing or Moscow as Paris or Milan. They might not have been born in London, but they’ve been there. Exclusivity is giving way to authenticity. Branding is by no means dead. It remains a vehicle for identity, but also for telling stories. Millennials want to know where the product comes from, who made it and why it matters. Brands like Delvaux, the world’s oldest leather goods company, can confidently tell a compelling story because they only do what they’re good at.

Sustainability will be a minimum expectation. It should be core to the design process and cascade along the supply chain. It won’t be enough to profess sustainability or treat it as a bolt on. Consumers will increasingly demand proof through greater transparency. Everlane, the California purveyor of beautiful basics, are pioneering this space by adopting “radical transparency”. Twoodie, a maker of Japanese inspired organic toys, publishes details of its factories, safety testing, quality control and even its margins.

For Millennials, brands with depth rather than breadth will win followers and likes. We’re not waiting for the next diffusion line.