We call them Digital Natives, Generation Y, Millennials. We could discuss the fact that the concept of Millennials is too limited and that Generation C might be a proper term. Because they Communicate, Connect, Collaborate and Create like no other generation, and because this is this really a matter of “When are you born?”
Anyway, you get me. Millennials think, live, and most importantly, consume differently. Marketers must understand that. The luxury market audience is changing completely, and Millennials are a pursued demography in the luxury market. Marketers have to know what makes them tick, and what makes them unique as consumers. So, what do we know about this “GenNext” buying group?
Millennials are motivated by values such as freedom, self-expression, and trust, and they don't need to be graduated in Marketing to be suspicious about a certain kind of advertising. The question is how do Millennials and their way of living change the marketplace? What strategies are luxury brands adapting to meet their needs? And what impact will have the new technology that Millennials embrace have on the industry?
THE TRUE LOVE STORY
First of all, let me reintroduce the men and women of my generation.
I guess Jessie J was right… It's not about the money, ain't about the bling-bling. Indeed, luxury used to be defined by a price point. For the Generation Y, luxury is not about big cars and shiny watches. Today, the term luxury is related to an emotion and many experiences. The question marketers need to ask themselves might be: what do they (millennials) want? What are they looking for and how can we provide it to them?
Millennials are living a true love story with their lives and themselves.
Also called ‘The Selfie Generation,' some people say it is a generation defined by an intense narcissism and a stronger ego. Millennials would respond that they are continually seeking authenticity. Authentic experiences with authentic memories. This might be the new definition of what we call luxury today. Because Millennials are the future of every brand of this world, they are spreading their way of living and thinking.
WHAT ABOUT THE MR, VR, AR?
So, you get it. It’s all about love. But, let’s get real. It is also all about new technologies too. If luxury has become related to experiences, adventures, and freedom, the concept has become informed by rapid technological change too. Millennials check their smartphones around 150 times a day and have at least one e-commerce App.
Since 2014, Voice Search (Amazon Echo first and more recently Google Home) is slowly invading our lives. So what impact will Voice Search have on the luxury industry? Millennials will be living soon in houses where they will be speaking to devices more often than to humans. It seems to be a sad story, but the question is: How can Voice Search affect the way Millennials consume? Are we ready to receive fashion advice from a machine? Can we combine our desire to “live the life” and the invasion of new technological devices in our lives?
Virtual Reality stimulates physical presences in any places of the world. VR includes technology, experience, and disruption. It is a disruptive experience in a way that it is still new and few people actually have access to the system. For now. Indeed, the world is moving fast… And so should the marketers of this world.
We can say what we want, VR, 360° videos, AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) is the future of Millennials and the marketplace.
So how the luxury industry will position itself between the physical world and the connected one?
With smartphones, consumers touch the luxury world with their fingertips. Social media has offered access to a new kind of luxury, more reachable and open, more like the consumer. The growth of new technology such as VR and 360° videos will do the same at another, more intense level.
High Fashion Brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton or Gucci are changing their Marketing strategies. The way people, and not only millennials, will discover, try and potentially buy luxury products is shifting. With the VR Revolution, luxury brands like YSL, or Dior with its Dior Eyes, are offering amazing experiences and impressive ads to their clients and to the rest of the world that powerfully engage. Soon potential customers will try on virtual clothes or survey designer bags in a more personal way. A new relationship will be established between current and aspirational customers and luxury brands.
The shopping experience is changing, and the new technology will offer what millennials want: an immersive connective environment for their purchasing of a luxury product. If brands are doing it right, they will manage to combine both offering a unique experience as well as simply making sales. However, Millennials consider more valuable to collect experiences rather than material things.
Indeed, technology is one thing, and we are already living through electronic devices and connected objects… What I think is that we must continue to aim high for our dreams, achieve and live them.