What does it mean to be a luxury brand? Is it enough to have a heritage logo and high price points? Who is the new luxury consumer, and what are their values? These are some of the questions considered in Canvas8’s first New York-based Breakfast Briefing, an event which brought together creative thinkers from some of the best agencies and brands in the US. The event came as part of an ongoing effort to connect our members with thought leaders from our network. We hosted a mixture of strategists, planners and thought leaders from brands such as Chandelier Creative, Case Agency and Nylon Consulting to explore the theme of reimagining luxury. Held at the Uma Raquel Davidowicz store in New York’s SoHo, the event deconstructed key behaviors, with each considered through an analytical perspective. We considered the new era of luxury through three key behaviors: ‘The ‘New’ Luxury’, ‘Enriching Experiences’ and ‘Regeneration’. A key insight is that it’s largely been Gen Y and Z fueling the luxury market since 2017, and that’s contributing to the shift in the definition of the sector. These ideas were considered with an eye on our report How do Americans define Luxury?, which looks at the multi-faceted meanings of the term ‘luxury’. And, while 55% of Americans see the quality of a product’s materials as the main signifier of a luxury purchase, others consider that a high price point or exclusivity is what makes something a luxury item.

This new gen approach to luxury stems from our changing world, with a rise in New Majoritiesand a shift away from the polar opposites of ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultures apparent in our Low Luxesummary. Similarly, a more playful approach was also introduced for Gen Y and Z, who look for brands that make a statement and don’t take themselves too seriously. Brands such as Gucci are achieving this with their high fashion memes and awareness of Gen Z values. The other element of luxury discussed at the briefing was the idea of democratic luxury, with brands taking responsibility for their sustainable impacts, philanthropic efforts and inclusivity. New forms of luxury on a personal level, beyond products, also relate to experiential investments; with transformative, localized and bespoke experiences prioritized by luxury travelers. On a daily basis, people have also come to define luxury with the ability to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature: trends considered under the behavior of ‘regeneration’.
These strands of luxury allow our members to review their work in the context of the insights we draw out. With the changing landscape of luxury, brands would do well to consider new approaches to targeting younger luxe audiences and erring away from traditionally ‘high culture’ and exclusive perspectives.
Abi Buller is an editorial assistant at Canvas8, the leading behavioral insights practice. Abi is a London-based graduate from London College of Fashion (UAL). With a background in creative direction for fashion, her research and creative projects focus on experiential retail, new technologies and trend forecasting.

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