This article was sponsored by Google.
A human-first approach to innovation in the luxury sector is needed. Data and insights show that consumer mindsets and behaviours are shifting, particularly as ethical and environmental issues are front-of-mind.
As a response, Vogue Business, in association with Google, has created a white paper, titled CUBE: Fashion Takes Shape.
The research offers timely recommendations and solutions for connecting with customers. Featuring deep dive interviews with luxury consumers across the UK, US, Middle East (UAE and KSA), France and Italy, the aim of the study was to explore key shifts in consumer behaviour that are core to future innovation in the luxury industry. We asked luxury consumers about how brands should approach emotional relevance, omnichannel customer experience and Web3 exploration. The answers were then analysed and cross-referenced with Google search interest and consumer survey data from the Vogue Business Index.
In addition, we asked industry experts for their input across these subjects, including Olivier Baliabos, chief communications and image officer at Christian Dior; Francesca Ragazzi, editorial director of Vogue Italia; Virginia Rustique-Petteni, VP of global purpose communications at Nike; Bertrand Peyrat, chief commercial officer at Vestiaire Collective; Thomas Berry, senior director of sustainable business at Farfetch; and Jasmina Banda, chief strategy officer at Chalhoub Group.
As the whitepaper identifies, human-first strategies are about localisation. China’s zero-tolerance policy on Covid suggests the threat of disruption to retail there is ongoing. This means brands and retailers must re-route their focus by getting to know local customers again within the US, EU and UK, as well as understudied regions, such as the Middle East. Technology and social media strategies need to be personalised to meet audiences across different regions.
“We can’t assume that just because something is popular in China that it will become popular in the same way in the West,” says Maghan McDowell, senior innovation editor at Vogue Business. McDowell also sees the luxury industry facing a cultural shift, comparable to when bloggers and social media came to the fore. “In the next phase of the internet, even more transparency and back-and-forth dialogue are valued, which for most marks an almost insurmountable challenge.”
Consumers in the US, EU and the Middle East are having to create technology hacks so that they do social commerce the way they need it. Cultural differences and varying influencer ecosystem legacies mean new localised strategies are needed.