(images via source)
A lavish penthouse-dweller with a fat investment portfolio walks into Chanel or LV. With nary a glace at any pesky pricetags, they plunk down the platinum plastic and buy out the store.
No, not the start of a dorky joke but the stereotype of the "luxury shopper" - which was actually pretty much accurate as recently as the 00s. Today, however, those cheeky kidz born anywhere between the early 1980s and 2000 are busy upending the norm. Millennials, observed a panel of experts at the recent National Retail Federation’s Big Show, are busy wreaking upheaval on the luxury end of the lifestyle and fashion market. How? Instead of buying brands because they're spendy, they spend because they believe a brand as is actually worth it.
Meaning they expect something more than just the supposed bragging rights that go with the I-spent-a-lot-for-this-item factor. No, well-heeled Gen Y shoppers have endearingly old fashioned ideas about luxury items actually being of good quality with impeccable craftsmanship and unassailable authenticity.
“To them, Luxury is about where it was made, how it was made," explains Matthew Woolsey, executive vice president for digital at Barneys New York. As a result, when Millennials go on the shopping hunt, it's for specific products, not brands. "In other words, a woman won’t simply go to Burberry and find a handbag she likes," the panel explained. "She’ll browse on her smartphone for handbags from a variety of sources, including easy-to-find designers such as Marc Jacobs and more niche ones such as Loeffler Randall."
That is, of course, assuming she actually buys the product. In many cases, Millennials are choosing to rent rather than buy - everything from cars to clothes. "Over 50 percent of luxury cars in the United States are being leased, not bought," points out Ken Nisch, chairman of retail design firm JGA. "They’re turning to services such as Rent the Runway and Uber that allow them to have an upscale experience at a fraction of the cost. They are using luxury without owning luxury.”
- Lesley Scott
NOTE: These spendy, style-conscious fashionistas that enjoy jetsetting, globetrotting and shopping their way across the globe are part of the Supremium fashion tribe that I track - for more posts about Supremiums, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.