July 19, 2012
The wide variety of ads in the summer issues of luxury-focused publications spanning apparel, fragrance and high-end jewelry indicate that luxury consumers are ready and willing to spend on big-ticket items.
Fashion, hotel, automaker and lifestyle brands are all flaunting multiple lines that appeal to every price point. The timeless nature of luxury goods could be what saved them from taking too big of a hit during the recession and the times after.
“The current state of the luxury industry indicates that affluent consumers are starting to recover from their 'hits' in the recession and are returning to their typical lifestyle,” said Dalia Strum, president of Dalia Inc., New York. “The current mentality is focused on those who can afford it -- posh and extravagance is not impractical.
“The rise in the affluent market is leading to an increase in consumer spending,” she said. “Fine jewelry, watches and beauty products were not as affected as much as the apparel industry in the economic struggle, as there is more of a timeless association with those items and consumers can increase their longevity, more so than the quick turnover of trends in apparel.”
Luxury-focused publications this summer are flaunting a variety of products from brands. This is likely because marketers are feeling more confident in the spending desirability of affluent consumers.
These issues are also serving as a platform for luxury marketers to push the campaign images of their new collections for the fall.
Brands including Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Prada, Chanel, Fendi, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Tag Heuer, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Michael Kors and Miu Miu are all launching new campaigns in summer issues to excite readers for the new collections bowing this fall.
For example, Vanity Fair is boasting ads from fashion, lifestyle and car brands including Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Lexus and Tag Heuer.
The publication also hosted multi-page spreads from Chanel and Prada (see story).
Fashion brands are offset by Lexus, Cadillac and L’Oreal.
Meanwhile, Harper’s Bazaar boasts a four-page front-of-book spread by Ralph Lauren Collection, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Giorgio Armani.
However, it also has lifestyle brands including Levian and Hilton.
Vogue also has a four-page spread from Ralph Lauren Collection and includes ads from Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Mulberry, Roc, Burberry, L’Oreal, Jimmy Choo and Fekkai. Ads by these brands include a focus on apparel, accessories and fragrances.
Tag Heuer, Chanel, Bottega Veneta and other fashion brands have spreads in Elle magazine.
Even though spending is high and print marketing is reflecting this in all categories, advertisers are not in the clear as of yet.
Indeed, the European debt crises are still unresolved and serve as a source of panic for affluent consumers, especially those overseas.
This, of course, reflects tourism and spending in the United States.
“Even in the midst of the European debt crisis, luxury spending has been at a higher rate than the retail industry on a whole,” said Courtney Albert, brand strategist at Parker Avery, Atlanta.
“However, I think that as consumers start to feel the ripple effects, brands will begin to adjust their forecasts,” she said. “I do not think that the luxury market is facing a slump, but it needs to prepare for volatile consumer buying behavior.”
Furthermore, spending is slowing down in China, according to various reports.
Nonetheless, brands should continue to market to consumers in ways that they are used to, including print marketing.
“A combination between the current European ongoing economic crises and slowdown in China's growing economy are both negatively affecting the luxury market,” Dalia Inc.'s Ms. Strum said. “Chinese consumers are hoping a new U.S. president will fuel the economy with fresh money and lower interest rates.
“Being featured in luxury-focused magazines will always have a certain luster in the luxury market, so in order for high-end companies to continue the momentum of being viewed in that category, it is important to reach luxury consumers where they are spending their time,” she said.
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York