Top Luxury Trends for 2015 from Unity Marketing

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Despite the newly revised and remarkably strong GDP growth of 5% in third quarter 2014 and the stock market topping 18,000 at year end, American affluent consumers will hold tight to their monetary gains in the New Year. Rather than conspicuous consumption and status symbols that proclaim one's wealth, the affluent will embrace brands that tell them new stories about quality and reflect their personal value system, which is egalitarian and anti-elitist.

Unity Marketing's Luxury Consumption Index (LCI)

For 2015 affluents' back-to-basics mood will bring challenges to many mainline, traditional luxury brands and high-end retailers, but open opportunities for other brands that interpret luxury in a new, value-based way.

Despite the newly revised and remarkably strong GDP growth of 5% in third quarter 2014 and the stock market topping 18,000 at year end, American affluent consumers will hold tight to their monetary gains in the New Year, reports Unity Marketing. They will choose to save and invest to grow even more wealth, rather than spend it wildly on luxury indulgences. That doesn't mean the affluents have given up shopping, but they will apply more demanding standards to the purchases they make.

"Today's affluent consumer is looking for a more understated, even modest, expression of their lifestyle, that focuses more on substance than style and on quality at a price that respects the customer's intelligence," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of a new white paper on luxury for 2015. Rather than conspicuous consumption and status symbols that proclaim one's wealth, the affluent will embrace brands that tell them new stories about quality and reflect their personal value system, which is egalitarian and anti-elitist.

For 2015 affluents' back-to-basics mood will bring challenges to many mainline, traditional luxury brands and high-end retailers, but open opportunities for other brands that interpret luxury in a new, value-based way. Among brands that understand this include high-end brands (Fischer Voyage and The Row), mid-range (Filson, Bonobos, Shinola, James Avery) to low-end (Everlane, Warby Parker, Alex and Ani), many sporting made in America roots.

One heritage luxury brand not afraid of telling a new story in tune with the current affluent's mood is the Saint Laurent Paris, under the direction of Hedi Slimane. Danziger explains, "By dropping the Yves from the brand name, it maintains connection to the brand’s past, but looks forward to the future. Further, the Saint Laurent reinvention has an American twist. Slimane moved his design studio from Paris to LA and opened a new flagship store on Rodeo Drive. While some of the Saint Laurent fashions feature glitz and glam, many designs feature a minimalist, back-to-basics aesthetic that connects with the current mood. Slimane is keeping the YSL-edge, but telling a new story reinterpreted for today’s rock 'n rollers."

"The idea of consumer aspiration for luxury brands– that people will see the brand as a realization of a hope or ambition – is dead. The truly affluent don’t need status symbols; quite the contrary, today they are going undercover. They need to be inspired to pay a premium for luxury, especially when so much good quality product at every price point is so widely available. The inspiration must come from a strong value proposition with an equally strong story hook. For 2015 luxury brands will have to learn a whole new way to tell the story of their brand to a new breed of affluent customers," Danziger concludes.

Click this link to download a white paper entitled, "Five Luxe Trends for 2015."

About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer segment. She is president of Unity Marketing, a boutique marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992.

Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar. She was named to Luxury Daily's Luxury Women to Watch in 2013. She is a member of Jim Blasingame: The Small Business Advocate’s Brain Trust and a contributing columnist to The Robin Report.

Her latest book is entitled Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How new consumer values are redefining the way we market luxury (Paramount Market Publishing, 2011). Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses—as well as the Classes, (Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2005) and Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior ( Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004).

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Pam Danziger

Greg Danziger
Unity Marketing Inc.
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