Gain insights into their changing aspiration, ways that they spend their wealth and connect with them in a meaningful way.
Future pathways for the Asian Affluent
Key shifts in their aspirations and definitions of luxury.
Source: ‘The Future of Affluent’, Visa 2018
From Acquiring to Creating
Then: The Affluent traditionally used their wealth to accumulate material possessions. Their ability to afford expensive items was seen as a status symbol.
Now: With the growing appreciation of craftmanship and experience, luxury is redefined as having a hand in the making of those things themselves. The craft now holds as much, if not more, value than the material outputs. Luxury brands are now giving avenues for their rich clientele to express their individual identities in the production process.
Signal in the market: luxury personalisation 1 Atelier is a new fashion startup that lets customers design a luxury bag from scratch, merging the worlds of high-end fashion and technology.
From Ownership to Access
Then: The desire to own goods and properties that are out of reach to others.
Now: The sharing economy has opened up the possibility of enjoying more with less. Beyond one-off material possessions, the Affluent now seek to cycle through a constant variety of luxury goods, from bags, cars, to luxury homes.
Signal in the market: luxury sharing Airbnb is launching a new rental service for mega-homes, mansions, and penthouses. To gain publicity, Airbnb has invited celebrities like Beyoncé and Selena Gomez to stay in these luxury lodgings and share their experiences on social media.
From Self-indulgence to Self-improvement
Then: In the old world, wealth means spending money on big ticket items for pleasure and social display.
Now: Driven by the young Affluent, consumption is shifting from the material and the aesthetic to the intellectual and spiritual. The affluent increasingly use their wealth to fund their search for meaning and self-actualisation. Think working as a crew to explore the underwater ruins of Titanic, and apprenticeship with a top painter.
Signal in the market: experiential luxury The Extraordinary Adventure Club invites affluent travelers to challenge their physical and mental boundaries to build self-confidence in a six-month program that costs around USD190,000.
From Me to The world
Then: Historically, the affluent used their wealth to set them apart as the elite. They went for excessive consumption free of guilt and consequences.
Now: Wealthy millennials now form a new class of affluent who place more value on sustainable sourcing, fair trade, and community contribution. They are unafraid of getting their hands dirty to run charitable programs.
Signal in the market: responsible luxury Palestyle is a luxury handbag line from the United Arab Emirates that features embroidery made by female Palestinian refugees. It ensures the refugees get a fair wage to help them achieve financial independence, while donating a percentage of its sales to development projects in camps to improve their quality of life.
From Visibility to Privacy
Then: The rich sought opportunities to show off their wealth.
Now: Public display of wealth is facing greater scrutiny from the masses and governments. And with increasing urban density and social media connectivity, privacy and exclusivity are becoming luxuries.
Signal in the market: discreet luxury China’s trendsetters are starting to desire more discreet European brands like Bottega Veneta, characterised by its signature weave, rather than an obvious logo. And for the rich searching for ultra-privacy, they can make a visit to Trophy Lodge. It is a top secret and ultra-exclusive resort in the mountains beneath Langjokull glacier, designed for an exclusive and very private retreat.
From Global to Local
Then: Wealthy Asians are famous for their insatiable appetite for global luxury brands (e.g. shoes by Louboutin and cars by Porsche).
Now: With Asian nations rising in prominence and prestige on the world’s stage, the Affluent are shifting their interest to culturally inspired local brands. There is a newfound appreciation for cultural heritage reimagined in modern tones (e.g. Aashni + Co designer saris and Chow Tai Fook jewelry).
Signal in the market: local luxury The Silk Route wallpaper collection features artwork hand-rendered by artisans on the margins of Indian society who have not been able to market themselves effectively.
From Hi-touch to Hi-tech
Then: The ability to afford human help to cater to one’s every need was one of the signifiers of wealth in many Asian cultures.
Now: The rise of artificial intelligence, robots, and connected homes are replacing human service, a trend driven by the young and tech-savvy affluent.
Signal in the market: automated luxury
Ten Thousand, one of Los Angeles’ most luxurious apartment buildings, deploys robots to serve residents with anything they need.
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