The Changing Luxury Market
I am a specialist in luxury homes and marketing luxury goods to clients throughout the world. This current economic climate though has changed my opinion of the definition of luxury. Times change, people change and luxury has changed.
Luxury clients were once an elite group of individuals who were fairly obvious to even the most amateur of sales executives. But luxury elite status has dimmed somewhat as firstly, many people are now able to afford luxury goods and secondly, many luxury clients are experiencing their first economic crisis of a lifetime.
Today’s luxury homeowner may look and feel like luxury (expensive diamonds, cars, art) but underneath their demeanor is a homeowner who is living month to month and wondering how to maintain appearances. It’s a fragile world and frankly, they are not prepared for what is to come.
Today’s TRUE luxury client may look different and seem different. The smart ones are people who have not fallen prey to every excess on the market, purchased a bucket load of baubles and continue to drive the latest most expensive cars. I am finding many luxury clients asking me to assist them as they work through a financial downturn they never anticipated or saved for. It’s a scary world.
Today’s luxury client could mean dreadlocks and diamonds. In other words – today’s luxury is not the obvious…in fact, it’s the reverse. They are the people you least expect and they have invested well and with discretion. They may drive a Ford and not have a multi-million dollar medieval castle. They wear jeans and Nikes. They are totally unique and totally in tune with the market. 80% of today’s luxury buyer is tech savvy and researches every purchase. And most importantly, today’s luxury customer rarely buys on impulse. Long term investments are the rule with multiple properties instead of one show home. It’s actually an interesting turn of events.
I am reminded of my grandmother who came from great wealth but lived her later years in a charming bungalow of about 970 square feet. She mowed her own yard in knee highs and pearls. She drank her tea on fine china in a tiny kitchen. That’s today’s luxury. They are different, they act different and they have a certain rule for living that is going to redefine the future. They may not have a million dollar home but their home will be chic and charming. Gaudy is out and tasteful and charming is in. Small is the new big. This is going to be amazing to watch the old world appeal of outrageous display transformed by a new era of discrete buyers.
To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The rich are different…”