By Christine Tsui
Translated by Rachel Wang
A view posted on the Zhihu.com goes that “according to Pinault, Kering’s major customer group has been the people aged under 35.” For Gucci, 50% of sales volume is thanks to the millennial generation, when in Saint Laurent, 65%, which means our key customers are only at their 25-35. This customer group pays more attention to the ready-to-wear than the last generation. However, what increases the youngster ratio in luxury consumption? Does it mean that the youngsters are growingly affluent?
It is only a trend, as I see, instead of a fait accompli.
In fact, the view of the questioner lacks the support of rigorous statistics. Objectively speaking, the average income and success in career of the 20s to 30s is not as much as the 40s to 50s. But it is trendy that more and more youngsters turn to be the luxuries customers, which can be proved by the following two points.
1. In general, the luxury brands are under great sales pressure. Even the brands like Chanel have suffered from the slowdown of growth. In contrast, the brands mentioned as examples above are exactly the ones having made a hit on the sales performance. Their common measures in the recent years are to cater for the demands of this era, in another word, the tastes of the 20s and 30s, changing the design styles, with the elements of street fashion, sports, animated and mixed cultures, and diverging from the previously treasured styles of grace and elegancy. Meanwhile, the designs lunched against the young tastes all brings sales challenges to their brands.
2. In addition, the luxury brands’ choices of spokesmen and the guests to their activities leans more towards to the young stars, like Angelababy, Zanilia Zhao, Kris Wu, Karry Wang, which was impossible in previous, for the luxury brands were only fond of the world-class top stars. Reviewing the choices of spokesmen before, we can find out that it is conventional for luxury brands to engage the mature males and females.
So, what makes the change?
1. The youngsters’ great consumption ability is out of doubt.
2. In my observation, though the luxury goods brought by the young and old are all the same, the consumer psychologies are utterly different. For the older generation, to buy luxury goods is more likely to be conspicuous consumption, while for the young, they concentrate more on the product itself (especially the designs) instead of only the logos. It may explain the success only favors the brands converting themselves to younger ones, when the stubbornly grace and elegant brands are risking the gloomy sales.
3. What’s more, the sense of fashion is where the youngers surpass their parents. For example, the looks Gucci lunched are usually not suitable for most common people, but the 20s and 30s are skilled in mix and match with items from both luxurious Gucci and inexpensive ZARA. In the traditional times, most luxury consumers would like to pile the pricy logos on them tastelessly and showily.
4. Meanwhile, the customers aged 40s and 50s may convert to the haute couture, which makes the traditional luxury brands lose a proportion of customers. As a result, the customer group aged 20s to 30s occupied more in the sales volumes.