Bloomberg Línea — From Prada handbags to Chanel perfumes and the renowned Dior “lip oil”, Gen Z individuals (born between 1997 and 2010) are turning to social media platforms — with a particular emphasis on TikTok — to share content about their favorite luxury brands. This surge in interest from the younger demographic is opening up a fresh avenue for luxury businesses, positioning the new generations as substantial potential customers in the near future.
Luxury goods consumption has been on the rise in recent years, with 2022 witnessing a record-high turnover of €345 billion. This growth briefly crowned Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, as the world’s wealthiest individual, surpassing renowned billionaires like Tesla’s Elon Musk, who currently tops the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
By 2030, Gen Z and the upcoming Alpha generation’s (born post-2010) expenditure on luxury items is expected to surge at a rate thrice that of their predecessors, claiming a third of the market share, as per Bain & Company. The consultancy highlights one key reason for this trend: the younger generations are entering the luxury market earlier. While millennials began indulging in luxury items between the ages of 18 and 20, the subsequent generations are doing so by 15, a notable 3-5 years in advance.
According to Pedro Fernandes from McKinsey, three primary trends underpin Gen Z’s strong engagement with luxury brands:
- Tailored loyalty programs offering exclusivity.
- Omni-channel connectivity, blending both physical and digital sales platforms.
- Emphasis on brand-building through events and active social media presence.
Luxury businesses have been leveraging loyalty schemes to accentuate exclusivity, rewarding regular consumers with special perks such as priority service, exclusive previews, dedicated designers, and exclusive promotions. Furthermore, luxury brands like Dior, Chanel, Prada, and MiuMiu are increasingly digitizing their sales channels. Notably, Dior’s makeup and perfume ranges are now available through outlets like Sephora and BelezaNaWeb.
Despite the online sales boom, luxury shoppers still cherish the in-store experience. Brands are capitalizing on this by investing in experiential retail outlets and exclusive pop-up events to reinforce brand loyalty, explains Fernandes.
Compounding these trends is luxury brands’ significant presence on social media platforms, often collaborating with influencers and celebrities to promote their offerings. In Brazil, influencer Adam Mitch is known for covering a range of brands on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, ranging from high-end names like Yves Saint Laurent and Dior to more accessible ones. A TikTok video by Mitch reviewing a Dior gloss amassed over 1.3 million views.
“This generation, more so than others, perceives luxury products as a form of self-expression. Companies are harnessing social commerce, leveraging influencers, and utilizing their channels to reinforce their brand presence and boost sales. Aligning with social responsibility and sustainability also helps strengthen brand recognition, especially among younger cohorts,” states Fernandes.
In China, a leading luxury market, there remains room for consumption despite economic challenges. Even with an unprecedented 22% unemployment rate among 16-24-year-olds, Gen Z is spending more on leisure, beauty services, bars, and sports events, according to Mintel Group.
Luxury brand Coach, owned by American company Tapestry, recently launched campaigns in China promoting self-expression for younger consumers, aimed at fostering “self-confidence and resilience” in a competitive job market, says Judy Chang, VP of Marketing and E-commerce for Coach in China. Tapestry’s recent quarterly sales in China witnessed a 50% increase year-on-year, even amidst a slight global business decline.
-- With information from Bloomberg News