Singapore's luxury market moves away from overt branding

Shift towards personalization and timeless appeal gains momentum.

Luxury brands are recalibrating their strategies to adapt to changing consumer expectations and maintain a sense of exclusivity without alienating potential customers, according to Derek Goh, Country Manager at Kadence Singapore.

He discussed how Singapore's luxury market is witnessing a shift in the definition of "exclusivity," moving from overt branding to a focus on timeless appeal and personalization.

"In the luxury sector, exclusivity has traditionally been about uniqueness and rarity. However, the landscape is changing as consumers increasingly value personalization over traditional status symbols," Goh said. 

He highlighted that luxury brands, such as watchmakers in Singapore, are creating unique experiences and products that cater specifically to individual tastes and preferences. This approach helps brands maintain an exclusive edge while being more inclusive of affluent consumers who may not traditionally fall into their customer base.

"There's a need to balance exclusivity with accessibility. Brands like Hermès have faced criticism for practices that restrict access to their products, even among wealthy consumers," Goh noted. He suggests that personalization allows brands to offer exclusivity that feels special and specific to the consumer, enhancing their connection to the brand.

Addressing the response of local luxury brands to cautious consumer spending, Goh points out the rise of the secondhand luxury market. "The secondhand luxury market is booming, valued at approximately $34.2 billion annually and growing," he stated. This market responds to the desire for luxury goods at a more accessible price point, reflecting cautious spending habits without compromising the allure of luxury brands.

An example of how brands are capitalising on this trend is Rolex's buyback and resale program. "By buying back and reselling their watches, Rolex keeps customers within their brand ecosystem, enhancing loyalty and maintaining the brand's prestige," Goh explained. 

Discussing the broader challenges and opportunities for luxury brands, Goh said, "Luxury brands are not immune to economic downturns, as seen with fluctuating sales figures among major groups like Kering and LVMH.” 

LVMH's initiative to reuse materials for new fashion collections is an example of how luxury brands can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. "Such initiatives not only reduce waste but also resonate with consumers' growing preference for sustainability," Goh remarked. 

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