Maybe you’re thinking… “We don’t care. Those Gen Zs, most of them don’t have enough cash to buy luxury goods anyway!”
Well, think again…
Actually, we care a lot about what is inspiring the Gen Zs, for different reasons.
One reason is that some can afford luxury and would be ready to spare money to just to own a single piece.
Another is that luxury is all about inspiration. When the Gen Z grow older, it will become the luxury brands’ regular clients.

What is luxury in 2016?

Centuries ago, being fat was a sign of wealth, wellbeing and overall abundance.  But in today’s world where food is available for almost anybody, it’s the exact opposite.
If you are rich, you are probably very thin and if you are poor, probably very fat.
Of course, it’s not quite that straightforward, but you get the idea.
At least, that’s the conclusion people will come to, when they first meet you.

With luxury goods today, it’s pretty much the same principle.
In the past, luxury was very connected to products and materials (gold, platinum, diamonds…). But today, since we know how to create copies which are available anywhere, the value of these materials is very relative.
They have become accessible somehow, and having a lot of them doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rich anymore.

In a postmodern world, there are several true signs of luxury.  Possessing nothing and yet still having access to the finest products and services when you need them, connecting to real life, having access to nature, silence, uncrowded or untouched places are all real signs of luxury.
Experience is a luxury, and somehow we imagine that paying for an item might be a way to access a different kind of experience.

According to a new study from Google/Nelly Rodi on Gen Z, luxury is best represented by travel.
You really have to understand the Gen Z values to better assimilate this  answer.

 How can luxury brands tackle the Gen Zs?

Digital is badly integrated by most luxury brands.
At first, luxury brands tried to ignore digital but (hopefully) that’s a thing of the past.  Then, they failed trying.

Here are some pitfalls I come across:

  1. Considering digital as something separate
  2. Trying to make digital fit into a brand’s former way of working.
  3. Diving in much too fast
  4. Digital washing (you can do 100% stupid things with 100% of your budget spend in digital)

When considering Gen Zs, you have to accept that Internet hasn’t just changed the media, it also has created a huge cultural shift.

There are several traits that describe Gen Z, some of which are counter-intuitive:

  1. Now: live in the instant, be fluid, evolve all the time, like Snapchat with its daily filter.
  2. Care: be engaged and responsible. Gen Z wants to change the planet for real.
  3. Clan:  Gen Z is mainly structured in vertical communities or crow cultures; each crowd has its own codes, places and vocabulary.
  4. Work: Gen Zs is pragmatic and hard working, especially when it’s their own company which they developing.
  5. Show: a huge misunderstanding has grown out of the selfie trend and the overall social media presence. Gen Z totally masters what it shares, and tries to be a source of fascination in their crowd.
  6. Trans: Gen Z hacks everything and doesn’t really accept frontiers. Even sexual genre isn’t a barrier anymore…

Marketing and communication are changing dramatically, and luxury brands have to wonder what lies beyond the products that they are selling. Maybe a Chanel bag will merely be the key that opens  a whole Chanel universe yet to be defined.

gregfromparisAuteur: Grégory Pouy