Alfred Tennyson’s famous quote “The old order changeth giving place to the new” could never have been more apt than at present as is proved by the millennials who have completely metamorphosed the current concept of luxury goods and brands. Gone are the days when the idea of having a luxurious life involved buying the most expensive and latest fashion clothes at brick and mortar outlets or of having Afternoon Tea at one of the luxury hotels or even staying at a suite in such a hotel. The trend has changed for the millennials who are steeped in digital technology as they themselves are digitally savvy and use their knowledge in every aspect of life particularly when buying luxury goods. Their entire world has now been condensed in their mobile phones with which they can satisfy their needs and ego.
Their mindset is entirely bent towards new digital innovations and in this process they endeavour to raise their status to come up to the level of their peers. They use new methods to improve their personal profiles by showcasing selfies on new communication platforms and social media. The luxury goods manufacturers and traders have also caught on to this trend and are hooking on to social media to intrude into the millennial mindset in order to make them their future consumers without losing out on their existing clientele. The millennial consumers on their part are already more receptive to non-traditional, inspiration-based sources and are more influenced by digital content and as such, the new retailers are enticing them by stressing on the wider lifestyle aspects of their brand images. The day is not far when the millennials (people currently aged 18-34) will become the largest section of consumers in the luxury market in the US between 2018 and 2020 and as such the luxury brands cannot afford to neglect this segment.
For the millennials, their personal profiles become their status symbols and are considered by them to be as important as their bank balance. The personal profiling could be shoot-and-share photo booths or interactive social media ad campaigns or even retail experiences cultivating individuality or helping self-promotion. The millennials also expect higher levels of participation and access to their brands than what their parents or grand–parents ever expected. Due to this, the value of initiatives providing insider access or revealing the hidden creative processes gets escalated. Moreover, millennial customers are getting heritage, brand ethos and contemporary relevance of the luxury brands due to the heavily editorialised soft-sell e-tail platforms, although they are already highly used to lifestyle-focussed, contextualised commerce. In all these aspects, it is obvious that the mobile phone is playing a major part as mobile commerce is growing and is expected to increase by thirty percent by 2019. It is also felt that mobile based luxury retail experiences are becoming a necessity. Mobile expectations for the always-on-the-go youth are especially high. Statistics show that mobile usage by millennials is 14 percent higher than by older consumer groups.
London has many luxury hotels where the affluent visitors like to stay but the most prominent of them that offers the ultimate in luxury with the best of facilities is the Montcalm Hotel London which is located in the heart of the city, close to most attractions.
Luxury brands have done their research well and have found out that for the post-recessionary, educated, social and outspoken 22- to 35-year-old millennials, celebration of self is of prime importance as they are more bothered about their exposure and their online profile than money. Luxury brand makers are therefore bringing social media in their stores by installing photo booths in their fitting booths where the millennial customers can take their selfies to share them on social media. By doing so they are sharing it with the world. They make sure that their shopping experiences are always on Instagram and Twitter. These brands are also initiating and promising profile-raising rewards to consumers who post their selfies wearing their brand goods to either their own websites or social networks like Instagram or Twitter. Some US fashion brands such as Calvin Klein are also reposting selfies of fans wearing their CK underwear along with the hashtag #mycalvins on a live Instagram feed on its website. Similarly, Italian fashion label Pucci has released a Scarfie app that enables users to add a Pucci scarf to their selfie shot by positioning it on their neck or as a headband and then sharing their selfie via social media. This way, the app automatically adds a clickable link below each look that redirects consumers to the e-commerce site of Pucci.
The millennial consumers are charmed by editorialised, content-fuelled commerce with which they not only get a shopping opportunity but also a greater opportunity for inspiration as they are more accustomed to non-traditional ways of shopping and through inspiration-based sources. The perceived value of luxury goods is always bolstered by knowing the behind-the-scene secrets of a product and nowadays these secrets are divulged through blogs, videos and Instagram feeds.
Chris Mason, strategy director at UK social media agency We Are Social, told Stylus: “Luxury retail has always been driven by storytelling. Knowing the stories, methods and people behind a product always helps to create perceived value. Those stories are now delivered through blogs, videos and Instagram feeds. Italian fashion label Missoni has enriched its website by infusing editorial style content in the form of an online magazine that aims to showcase the wider ethos of the brand. It is the joint effort of bloggers, illustrators and photographers and it contains fashion features, social media updates and interviews with creative persons including writers and artists. The richer the story behind the brand and products, the greater will be the appeal to millennials.