Luxury and Creation Circle: things to remember about “Niche Luxury, Small and Big Brand Issues” meeting

The 45th meeting of the Luxury and Creation Circle, held on November 6 in Paris, reviewed niche luxury brands. Focus on an expanding phenomenon in France.

By Hélène

The Luxury and Creative Center organizes 3 to 4 meeting each year, in the form of round tables bringing together luxury professionals around strategic issues.

The 45th meeting of the Luxury and Creation Cercle, actually gathered Hubert Barrère, Artistic Director of Maison Lesage, Michel Chevalier, President of Parfums Dusita and co-author of Luxury Retail Management, Jean Michel Duriez, President and co-founder of Parfums Jean-Michel Duriez Paris. But also, Julie El Ghouzzi, Director of the Luxury and Creation Center.

An occasion for the profesionnals to discuss about the evolution of luxury, which was considered as a niche 50 years ago, and now has become global.

In reaction to this assumed globalization of luxury brands, customers’ aspirations are related to new and unique pieces. The brands are doubling their creative propositions thus taking the risk to have difficulties to distribute them.

Regarding a survey conducted by the Luxury and Creative Center, 52% of luxury professionals consider that luxury is a niche market, but 86% of them believe that it is not possible to move from a niche market to a mass market with the same offer. It shows that it will be necessary for luxury brands to adapt.

Niche and “hive” markets

It seems that there are two luxury markets existing at the same time, two Business Models; one is niche, the other one can be called “hive”, from the honeycomb fabric, where the different segments from premium to very high-end meet,” explains Julie El Ghouzzi, Director of the Luxury and Creation Center.

In arts and crafts, we are clearly on niche markets,” says Hubert Barrère, embroiderer and artistic director of Lesage (Chanel group). The houses have created sub-categories within their offer. Thus if ready-to-wear is aimed to a relatively large clientele, Chanel’s Métiers d’Art and Couture collections are exclusivly made for a much more confidential clientele. Let’s not delude ourselves“, he adds, because of the “multiplication of unique things” that some accessible products can offer to us.

Luxury niche : the example of niche fragrances

In the Perfume & Fragrances Industry, niche perfumery corresponds to a specific offer, different the one distributed in selective perfumery. Michel Chevalier, president of Dusita perfumes, believes that this expanding phenomenon “is due to a change in the distribution of the perfume. The major distributors gradually moved away from the smaller brands to focus on blockbusters, seeking to maximize their margins. The selective perfumery has thus become “selective mass perfumery”.

The ultra niche can only be existing if there is strong creativity and if it does not need advertising, but does need the virality that social networks are offering today. Bloggers are “niche guides”, who will draw attention to a particular creation. “says Jacques Carles, President of the Creation and Luxury Center.

At the end of this meeting, we can finally understand that there are currently three types of luxury niche: The first one is concerning brands that are starting as niche start-up to grow and embellish. As a result, some of them can make themselves reknowned and take advantage of this opportunity to reach mass markets.

Then, there is the ultra-niche, driven by creativity and passionate collectors: without them to maintain it, it cannot last long. And finally, the last type of niche concerns the very high-end segmentation of big houses, which regain the quintessence of their creativity and rarity to better legitimize all its market segments.

To know more about the Luxury and creation Center: http://www.centreduluxe.com

By Hélène
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