As we are gradually settling into the new normal post covid, a move towards the pursuit of a more conscious lifestyle has also been accelerated. China has seen a boom of fitness centers, increased adoption of clean and conscious beauty and wellness practices, growing popularity of outdoor leisure activities, upcycling shopping malls, etc. Young Chinese consumers, Millennials and Gen-Z, are more open to expressing their worldview and personality through consumption than older generations. Many young Chinese have adopted a minimalist lifestyle that combines the practice of mindful consumption, fashion attitudes, aesthetic concepts, and sustainable ideas.
For luxury consumers, the purchase decision is now influenced by mindful consideration of “practicality, holistic wellbeing and self identify” when choosing luxury products. “Buy less, choose well” will be very relevant in the years to come as luxury brands pay more attention to the behind the scene stories, whether it’s about the craftsmanship or sustainability (ie how traceable the materials are). Gusto Luxe has worked with luxury brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Gabriela Hearst to construct and amplify these types of stories to build brand ethos around sustainability, working with local resources, and empowering more diversified talents. Below we outline ways that luxury brands can respond to this growing trend.
8 WAYS LUXURY BRANDS CAN RESPOND TO THE SHIFT TOWARDS MINDFUL CONSUMPTION
1. Identify influencers who holistically embrace the sustainable lifestyle and find the natural link between them and the brand. Explore the real-life figures who are leaders and pioneers changing the industry. For example, for Marimekko’s recent stripe T-shirt campaign, Gusto Luxe supported the brand to collaborate with three generations of real-life influencers and a vertical podcast channel called Stochastic Volatility (随机波动). The campaign encouraged followers to recall the most extraordinary ‘ordinary thing’ in everyday life to bring about mindfulness.
2. Find common ground between the brand DNA and a sustainable cause it can own. Gusto Luxe has been working with Hunter Boots since the brand’s repositioning into ‘for the world outside’ last year. Everything the brand does is to own the outdoor space with both functional and fashionable products. The brand DNA resonates well in China post-pandemic as consumers value more ‘moments in nature’ and discovering domestic landscape.
3. Raising product prices at a relatively predictable frequency and range will maintain brand value and equity. Be wary of growing fatigue over shopping festivals.
4. Continue creating classic series worthy of possession and collection as a response to consumers’ high expectations for the brand in terms of culture, aesthetics and craftsmanship.
5. Dig deep into what consumers’ practical needs are through closely monitoring consumer feedback. Continue to improve design details and material selection by adapting products to meet market requirements. Brands can even gain insight from the luxury second-hand market.
6. Be sensitive to market trends, and pay close attention to the increasingly prominent political culture in mainland China. Be ready to own up quickly to mistakes.
7. As consumers become more mindful in their purchasing behavior they will visit both online and offline, brands must act proactively to stay top of mind through eye-catching news, and launch activation activities or membership services at the appropriate time to facilitate purchases.
8. Frequently show up on social media platforms where Gen Z are active, and embrace new technologies such as AI and Metaverse to deliver the luxury experience. Mintel’s recent report, China Luxury and Fashion Market Insights Overview 2022, points out that for China’s Gen Z consumers, luxury is not just a product, but a way of life and emotional expression. Data shows that 81% of the surveyed Gen Z agree that the definition of luxury is not limited to luxury brand products, but that it brings greater life value and spiritual comfort.
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