It is no secret that Millennials have done much to shape the world as we know it today. One unexpected area that they have changed is the luxury market. This will come as a surprise to many as Millennials largely have avoided the traditional luxury brands. What they have done instead is redefined the word luxury. Historically, high-ticket items such as jewelry and couture have practically been the definition of luxury, but the Millennial trend has pushed that definition in a few different directions.
The first way that Millennials have changed the way we look at luxury is in the areas where they spend their money. What we have seen recently is again a shift away from the more expensive items typically associated with luxury, and in their place, they are spending money on items with descriptors such as organic, fair-trade, sustainable, and ethically sourced. Items with these descriptions almost always cost more than their counterparts, but their value is higher to Millennials who care about where something comes from and how it was treated.
Secondly, Millennials are turning to resale apps and websites that give them access to traditional luxury items at a significantly lower price-point. Two such platforms are Thredup and Poshmark. They allow users to take pictures and post items at a price of their choosing, and some items can even be sent in for authentication. Because the prices on these resale avenues are determined by the owner of the item and their motivation to sell, items nearly always sell for a fraction of the price that they would in a retail store that has overhead and employees to pay for.
The third area where Millennials differ from their predecessors is how they look at luxury clothing. Millennials have moved away from couture such as Gucci, Prada, and Givenchy and moved toward brands like Supreme and Vetements that are known for their exquisite streetwear. This is the new phenomenon amongst Millennials: their idea of luxury attire would be categorized as streetwear. In fact, some of the classic luxury brands have even introduced lines of high-end streetwear.
As we have seen, Millennials have changed our world forever, and even a segment usually reserved for the rich and elite have felt their hand. Luxury is changing and Millennials are one of the driving forces behind that. Brands need to recognize these new drivers and shift their focus to match.