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Redefining luxury – its luxury but not as we know it

According to recent research 79% of Indians believe that luxury is about personal aspiration with only 20% who believe that Luxury is meant for the upper class.

On a sunny April morning in Mumbai, Pooja stopped to admire a sparkling stone-encrusted bag in the window of the town’s most talked about mall. The flagship store had newly opened, but she turned her nose up at its lineup of logo-stamped satchels and tote bags. “It looks a little uptight, not really my style,” Pooja said. “It’s better to be subtle.”

Pooja’s fondness for low-key, logo-free pieces is shared by a growing number of shoppers, experts say, who prefer to shell out for unique, hard-to-find pieces instead of highly recognizable products from big-name brands.

A recent study found that 48 % of Indians surveyed believe that luxury does not mean spending more money; additionally 47% believe that luxury is about individuality or being comfortable with what you have. The shift is largely about adapting to a moment in high-end luxury world when personal taste and individuality — not conformity — are the ultimate badges of cool. 

What is ‘MyLuxury’?

Generation Z (also known as Post-Millennials, the iGeneration) is the demographic cohort after the Millennials. For India’s Gen Z conventional luxury leaves them indifferent.  While for the previous generation (Gen Y/millennials), prestige was defined by – not merely buying/experiencing global brands – but actively flaunting them, particularly on social media. 

Generation Z are far more selective in the choice of brands, but also in what they share; for them exclusivity and prestige is more discreet and individual and – unlike their predecessors – it’s not defined by ‘likes’ or ‘shares’, it’s defined only by each individual.  

For India’s Generation Z, particularly beyond the metro environment, in tier II and III cities, for example, ‘MyLuxury’ is less about global brands, and more about subjective, personal gratification.

Gen Z: The Generation after Millennials

Technology is no longer an exciting, celebrated thing, as much as it is an expectation. Millennials were internet pioneers. They invented Facebook and Instagram, shopped from their smartphones and tablets, and smoothly transitioned from satellite TV to on demand content providers like Netflix and Hotstar.

Generation Z (individuals born after 2000), meanwhile, doesn’t remember life without these basics of 21st century life. They use a lot of time online to find product and information instead of buying swiftly from corner stores. 

The Gen Z do research, share experiences and look for brands that match with their values. Built on bedrock of unabashed individuality and technological soundness, this generation dispels traditional brand ideals and aspirations by crafting their own needs based on quality, value and personal excitement.  

Gen Z is far more selective than their predecessors when it comes to choosing between brands –– flagging the path of value and quality over luxury and prestige. They’re less brand-conscious and they are definitely not spending as much as millennials do. Their focus on personal gratification and distinct individualism for acquisitions reflects a perceptive transformation, which is not defined by the number of likes and shares witnessed on social media platforms.

The evident revolution in choice preferences by Gen Z, away from global brands towards individual satisfaction in buying behaviour, is particularly emphasised in Tier II and III cities beyond an urban environment where the concept of ‘MyLuxury’ has emerged at the forefront.

In addition 79% of respondents believe that luxury is about personal aspiration - The idea of ‘MyLuxury’ defining Gen Z is simple –– conventional, aspirational brands no longer command the same value as they did with the previous generation –– decreeing a new era of individual choices based on what brands mean personally on their own terms.

A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) suggests that if India continues to grow at the current pace, average household incomes will triple over the next two decades, making the country the world’s fifth-largest consumer economy by 2025, up from the current 12th position.

There is no doubt whatsoever that India’s consumption story will eventually be shaped by its 390 million Gen Z. Marketers have been carefully studying generation Z for many years now, observing their preferences as children and teenagers, and finding that they have a very different relationship with companies than their elders.

Compared to any generation that has come before, Gen Z has less trust in luxury brands. They have the strongest no nonsense filter because they’ve grown up in an era where information was available at all times. This reckonable evolution gives alternate or smaller brands an opportunity to step into mainframe marketing by offering products on online platforms that resonate fluently with the personal satisfaction needs of this up-to-date and technologically savvy generation.

For decades, brands communicated through advertisements, so corporations with the biggest budgets could make the biggest impact on billboards, magazine spreads, TV, and radio ads. But Gen Z uses the internet to their advantage, they dig into what brands really stand for, beyond the celebrity endorsements and the heavily photo-shopped visions they try to project. Recent survey states that only 6% of Indians associate luxury with celebrity.

Generation Z doesn’t just stand out in terms of how they relate to brands; they’re also spending their money differently. Online platforms who understand this shift and cater to the specific needs of Gen Z where emphasis is given to quality, affordability and individual gratification are more likely to advance. Without these assets addressing the needs of an ever-growing new, Internet-savvy generation, old-school marketers are likely to lag behind on the progression chain unless drastic changes are enforced to stir the pot of development successfully.

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