With luxury brands thriving, there is an ever increasing opportunity for luxury design agencies
The precarious economic and political upheavals of the past year haven’t diminished the world of upmarket consumer brands. In fact, many luxury brands are booming, presenting an ever increasing opportunity for luxury design agencies.
After the increase in global sales of luxury goods between 2010 and 2015 – estimated at 45% – studies have pointed to a slowdown in 2017. But some luxury brands are proving that extravagance is still very much on the menu.
Rolls Royce leads the way, announcing its second-highest sales figures in the brand’s 113-year history, with a total of 4,011 cars sold in more than 50 countries during 2016. It mirrors the UK luxury yacht industry, who say that the plummeting pound after the Brexit referendum has super-charged sales to wealthy foreigners, with an increase of 50% in sales for the second half of 2016. To capitalise on the rise of UK luxury brands, Aston Martin launched a 37-foot powerboat with a price tag of a choppy £1.3m.
Looking successful to stand out in uncertain times calls for major accessories, a fact not lost on Richard Mille, a Swiss watch-maker who partnered with French graffiti artist Cyril ‘Kongo’ Phan to produce a £640,000 timepiece; just 30 were made, all selling out before the official launch announcement. But what to wear it with? Perhaps a pair of newly launched crocodile-skin sneakers dipped in 24k gold, launched by Athletic Propulsion Labs in November 2016 as the world’s most expensive at US$20,000.
LVMH is a barometer of the luxury market, and despite CEO Bernard Arnault’s recent finger-wagging warning for designer brands in 2017, the company last month launched a new collaboration with streetwear brand Supreme, whose hero product was a bold graphic red-and-white trunk retailing at US$68,500.
Equally with his finger on the pulse is Tom Ford, who teamed up with Lalique to create a limited edition black crystal bottle for his Black Orchid fragrance that sells for a heady £4200 for 100ml.
And where designer fashion and luxury automotive brands go, everyone else follows. Marriott International launches its Luxury Brands Group and its opening of 30 new luxury hotels in the coming year, even Disneyland is getting in on the act. Its ultra-exclusive 21 Royal experience inside is designed to deliver ‘extraordinary dinner party’ evenings for celebrities, dignitaries and other VIP guests at a cost of $15,000 per night. Perhaps combine it with a flight from JetSmarter, called ‘the Uber for private jets’. Users can access an app to book a single seat on a private jet flying on a limited number of routes within Europe and to New York.
It’s an interesting time for luxury branding and design agencies, who have been concerned that the industry slowing will mean less advertising and marketing budget for luxury brands.