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AISA PACIFIC TREND REPORT
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LUXYOURYLuxury is in the eye of the beholder
*One example: luxury conglomerate Richemont reported flat sales in China during Q4 2012, after several years of exceptional growth.
Luxury from Louis Vuitton to Shanghai Tang (we know, the list is endless) has played a central role in the recent Asian consumption story. But the dance of success, status and material display so visible in many Asian societies and so fundamental to luxury consumption is evolving. In 2013, the luxury slowdown affecting some* is only a staging post in a wider, more momentous shift: as Asian consumers mature, so too are the ways in which they display wealth, differentiate themselves from the pack, and mark status. From ultra-opulence, to customized, to affordable mass-chic, ideas of what constitutes luxury are in transformation.
DRIVIng ThIS Theme:
A speciAl relAtionshipWhile worldwide luxury goods revenues grew by an estimated 10% in 2012 (down from 11% in 2011), in Asia-Pacific that figure was 18% (Luxury Goods Worldwide, Bain, October 2012). The takeaway? Asian consumerism is intertwined with luxury consumerism: as the first grows and matures, so does the second.
AccelerAting Affluence huge growth and rising affluence amid the Asian middle classes has put entry level luxury within reach of many more people. And that growth is set to continue: around 85% of the anticipated growth of the global middle class from 1.8 billion in 2012 to 3.2 billion in 2020 will come from Asia, except Japan (OECD, July 2012). That means high net Worth Individuals and other traditional luxury consumers must push the boundaries of luxury ever harder or rethink their conception of it to mark themselves out as special.
DiversificAtion of luxurymeanwhile, the rapidly rising middle classes are as eager to embrace luxury as their hnWI peers. globally, one in four purchases of personal luxury goods now comes from a Chinese consumer (Luxury goods Worldwide, Bain, October 2012). But for millions of these mass-lux consumers, creativity, uniqueness and self-expression are key. The result? A shift in the popular idea of what luxury constitutes, and what a luxury product or service must deliver.
WHITE COLLAR CHIC
MiDDle clAss spenDingYes, its those ballooning Asian middle classes again. Another sign: the proportion of middle class people in India is set to rise from 28% in 2010 to 45% in 2020 (Boston Consulting Group, Oct 2012). Millions of new Asian middle class consumers want affordable luxury options that serve their lifestyles.
quick fixesSaving enough to afford high-end luxury may take years for many among the Asian middle class, if its possible at all. Meanwhile, mass chic and affordable luxury can be bought on impulse. And as we all know when it comes to human nature, impulse often wins ;-)
everyDAy chicPut a luxury twist on mass market, off-the-shelf buys, by tweaking anything from ingredients to design to packaging. Look at what Burger King did with its Angus Beef and Truffle Burger.
MiD-MArket luxLaunch a new product line, pitched squarely at mass affluent consumers lusting after affordable luxury. Take inspiration from Shiseidos ZA cosmetics range. Just be careful not to dilute your brand with too many sub-brands or product ranges.
locAl MAss luxLocal luxury brands such as Indian leather accessories brand Hidesign are producing affordable luxury lines that resonate with local tastes. Learn from, or partner with, similar examples in your sector.
Lux fOR LEss
While millions of Asian, newly affluent middle class consumers aspire to international luxury brands, most remain out of their price range. So, now more than ever, these consumers are hungry for exciting yet affordable luxury choices. Are you ready for the rise of Asian mass luxury consumption?
In May 2012, US fast food chainBurger King added the USD 5 Black Truffle Angus XT burger to its Hong Kong menus. The limited edition burger was part of a month-long promotion of the restaurants premium food line, which aims to boost sales in the Chinese market by offering the public upscale menu options.
September 2012 saw the Japanese launch of ZA, a new product line by Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido tailored for Asian women. Marketed as a masstige brand across eight Asian countries, the ZA range in Japan features 19 cosmetic products priced between JPY 630 and 1260 (USD 7 and 14).
Gourmet burger range in Hong Kong
Masstige makeup enters Japan
Chinas leading womens lingerie brand and e-tailer La Miu offers consumers a luxury shopping experience at an affordable price. In July 2012, the brand announced a partnership with popular Hong Kong model Zhou Xiuna. Lingerie pieces start from CNY 150 to 220 (USD 25 to 35). Meanwhile In October 2012, Sri Lankas first homegrown premium lingerie brand Amante was relaunched in its home country, after enjoying years of success in India. Amante offers premium satin and lace apparel. Its lingerie sets retail for approximately LKR 2,500 (USD 24).
In March 2012, Indian leather accessories brand Hidesign debuted its collection of womens handbags under its new sub-brand, Alberto Ciaschini, Handcrafted by Hidesign. Priced between INR 8,000 (USD 145) and 25,000 (USD 456), the range of limited edition accessories targets Indias burgeoning luxury market. Italian designer Alberto Ciaschini leads the design department at Hidesign.
In October 2012 in Mumbai, Italian leather accessories brand Furla launched its flagship boutique in India, aimed at Indias emerging affordable luxury market. The brand offers a range of mid-market handbags, shoes, scarves and quality leather products, generally priced at INR 3,500 to 50,000 (USD 64 to 916.50).
La Miu and Amante Homegrown Indian brand expands its affordable luxury offerings
Furla opens first Indian store
MAss Lux LIngERIE HIdEsIgn
white cOLLaR chic5
evolutionAs traditional markers of affluence (the Gucci handbag et al) edge closer to ubiquity, middle class consumers are turning instead to experiences that tell others they are tasteful, cool and connected.
connectionExperiences generate currency to spend in the STATUSPHERE, in form of STATUS STORIES. With more Asian consumers online, those stories are becoming more shareable, and so more potent than ever.
connoisseursIn an evolving status arena, STATUS STORIES are increasingly linked to STATUS SKILLS. Cue experiences that allow consumers to develop and flaunt abilities that others aspire to.
WoW fActorMaybe you think your service already has the wow factor. But is it as eye opening as the floating cinema created in Thailand by the Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Festival?
hAnDs on Challenge your consumers with hands on experiences that earn them STATUS SKILLS, as Singapores Baker & Cook do with their New World baking classes.
ArtificiAl scArcity: Keep your offering exclusive hard to access, rare, or secret to help Asian consumers feel special. Prohibition-themed bar The Library in Singapore requires a word of mouth password to enter.
sTAnd OuT ExpERIEnCEs = sTORIEs WORTH sHARIng
Amazing experiences are becoming a central part of the evolving Asian STATUSPheRe. now, as Asian consumers push the bar ever higher when it comes to prized experiences, expect rising numbers to dive into the opulent, the rare, the edifying and even the downright bizarre all in search of the ultimate STATUS STORY.
In April and May 2012, Hong Kong-based and Michelin-starred Hullett House held a series of dinners recreating the Titanics last supper, to mark the centenary of the sinking of that ship. Replicating the original ten course menu available in the Titanics First Class Dining saloon, Hullett House even offered the same vintage 1907 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole champagne that the Titanics passengers enjoyed. Tickets cost HKD 15,000 per head (USD 1,935).
Hong Kong hotel recreates the Titanics last supper
BAKER & COOKCelebrity chef teaches New World baking techniques
During October and November 2012, celebrity chefDean Brettschneider held a range of baking classes at his cafBaker & Cookin Singapore. Priced at SGD 120 (USD 99), each workshop gave participants the opportunity to learn basic or advanced bread-making or pastry skills with the award-winning New Zealand baker.
LIn BIAOs CAvE
In July 2012, the former hideout of ex-Chinese Communist General Lin Biao was converted intoa military-themed bar. Located atop a mountain in the Beijing suburbs, customers enter the clandestine bar through anold aircraft fuselage and can enjoy drinks surrounded by military memorabilia.
Ex-Communist leaders bunker turned into bar
In March 2012 in Thailand, Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Festival created a floating cinema in Nai Pi Lae lagoon off Thailands Kudu Island. Made from recycled materials, the Archipelago Cinema consisted of a floating screen and raft-like auditorium situated in the middle of the lagoon; guests were taken there by b