Luxury brands emphasize lifestyle

According to a recent report by McKinsey, an increasing numbers of luxury goods companies are attempting to build “lifestyle brands” with relevance to consumers across a range of different product categories. The consultancy conducted interviews with 20 groups, including French luxury maison Hermes, Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli and jeweller Harry Winston.

In all, a 70% majority of respondents believed they were “luxury lifestyle brands”, although the analysis also found they were “far from agreeing on a single definition” of this term. To encourage greater clarity regarding this matter, McKinsey assessed the current activities of leading premium brands, and discovered that those with an “apparel core” had made the most progress.

Such a result followed on from moves into fields like perfumes in the 1980s and 1990s, alongside jewellery, watches and home products in the early 2000s, and, latterly, providing wider experiences. In all, a 14% share of major apparel brands now trade in over six categories, a tactic led by operators like Roberto Cavalli. An additional 28% of players are in five segments, a group housing Givenchy.

The largest cohort, or 35% of the panel, were active in four areas, with Kenzo cited here. Another 17% of brands, such as Carolina Herrera, competed in three sectors, and only 6%, like Akris, sold items in two. Armani, the Italian firm, was also referenced by the report, having taken an innovative approach to expansion, running more than a dozen cafés, two restaurants and several hotels.

In a further example of this overall trend gaining ground, McKinsey stated that the amount of newspaper articles discussing luxury and lifestyle together has grown by 11% since 2000. By contrast, the number of pieces looking at luxury in and of itself has climbed by just 3%, and remains below the level recorded prior to the financial crisis.

The brands achieving the best ratings from McKinsey in terms of lifestyle scores generally leveraged traditional tools like magazine and video content, but also exploited blogs, social media and apps. “Their campaigns feature visuals of cityscapes, leisure activities, or other slices of luxurious life in which the brand’s products may appear as precious props, but not necessarily the centre of attention”, the study added.

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Harry Winston launch event in Dubai