Turning the page in 2021

Now that 2020 is behind us, the year begins on a promising note, with the roll out of vaccines around the world. With the slow but steady return to normality and to a post Covid-19 world, we at Agility foresee a rebound in the luxury sector in 2021, driven by Asian affluent consumers desire to regain a normal life and to reward themselves for the tough year just past.

The question many ask us is: “will we be back quickly to a pre Covid-19 life?”. Many talk about a “New Normal”, a catchall phrase which indicates a definite break from the excesses of the past. Our data shows that this is partially true.

Affluent and HNW consumers are more aware about the importance of health and wellness in their life, which is now seen as a given factor across all categories. Luxury brands will need to demonstrate that what they offer contribute to it in some way. There is also a renewed concern about excessive consumption, detrimental to the environment and possibly distasteful in a world where economic inequalities have been accentuated by the Covid-19 economic shock.

When talking with affluent and HNW consumers, we hear more and more often about wanting to buy less items, but of a higher quality or as an occasion for self-reward. Luxury purchases will be less driven by momentary impulses, and more by reasoned and ethical choices.

We see that long months indoors have had a dual effect: it has driven a remarkable increase in online luxury shopping, making an ever large share of luxury consumers comfortable when purchasing high price items online. But it has also made them longing for the exciting experience of shopping at a real store, enjoying warm and personalized customer service offered by real brand ambassadors. While many brands have now, rightly so, focused their attention on their e-commerce capabilities, the most fore-sighting brands are equally focusing on revamping their retail experience to capture eager consumers who will flock again to their retail stores once the situation stabilizes.

These and many other trends and insights will be the focus of our work in 2021, helping brands decode and understand this new mindset. Our signature study, TrendLens™ 2021, will gauge the pulse of the affluent and HNW consumers sentiments in traditional luxury markets, like U.S , China, Hong Kong, Japan and Europe. We will also look at new and emerging ones, like UAE, Australia and Taiwan, which this year are generating strong interest.

In addition to TrendLens™ 2021, we will conduct specific studies on key verticals, such as Financial Services and Luxury Automotive, to help brands understand the consumer’s mindset and how they can better reach and serve them.

In addition to affluent consumers, as part of the Agility Luxury Leader Pulse 2021, we will tap into the insights of senior leaders across many luxury segments to get their point of view on how the sector is evolving, which new trends are emerging, what are the challenges and the opportunities they are faced with. We will be restarting our Luxury round tables and webinars soon and very excited to meet with many of you in person this year!

We, like you, expect a very busy and promising year ahead and look forward to working with you on your insights and strategy needs,

With best wishes from the Agility and AFFLUENTIAL™ teams!

Amrita Banta
Managing Director
Agility Research & Strategy

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