As millennials gain more social and financial capital, it seems that media outlets are replete with articles speculating on how they will shape the future. The predictions range from dire claims that the smartphone-wielding generations heralds the death of civil society, to analyses that assert that these prophecies are all wrong, and that millennials are in fact here to save the world.
In the case of the luxury market, in any case, a recent report by Market Watch falls firmly in the latter camp. UBS, a Swiss financial services company, investigated the under-35 set’s attitudes towards luxury brands and spending, and found that millennials are far from the proverbial death knell for luxury manufacturers. In fact, they may be here to rescue it, whether the product in question is high-end French couture or limo service from the Denver airport.
The fact that millennials prioritize curated, unique travel and entertainment experiences above all other expense allocations has led some industry observers to fret over whether the luxury market could keep up with the younger generation’s demands. Namely, they wondered whether the concept of luxury itself was too old-fashioned to capture the loyalty of young consumers who seem to appreciate the thrill of the new more than anything else.
However, according to UBS, millennials aren’t just unopposed to luxury, but they openly embrace it. Millennials in the United States, the UBS study found, are actually even more engaged with luxury spending than the over-35 crowd. They spend slightly more on luxury goods, and appear to be more brand-loyal to traditional European luxury houses like Burberry, Gucci, and LVMH. Millennials also reportedly feel more positive about their financial futures than their older counterparts, which positions them for future expenditures that are even greater than they are currently.
Although millennials are sometimes lambasted for their high level of engagement with social media, UBS sees their hooked-in mindset as the key to luxury brands’ smooth transition to the younger consumer base. Digital marketing and maintaining a strong, visible online and social media presence with millennial consumers will capture their attention and brand loyalty, says UBS. We at EmpireCLS also surmise that given the high priority that millennials place on travel and entertainment, traditional luxury houses will do well to partner with brands like luxury limo service providers and boutique hotels to fully embody want millennials want out of luxury experiences.
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