Insight 28 – How Millennials and Gen Z are rewriting luxury.

Recently we have been gathering our thoughts about the impact of Millennials and  Gen Z on the idea of ‘luxury’.

With young consumers attributing high value to brands offering pragmatism, shared ownership, and inclusivity, ‘traditional’ luxury brands can no longer rely on sky-high pricing and exclusivity alone.

Here are five ways we think this generation is reshaping the luxury experience.

Millennials and Gen Z are widely publicised as being ethically aware, therefore brands with tangible, positive impact on their wellbeing and on the world will be their go-to-choice.
So whether it is visibly ensuring your brand’s manufacturing integrity, transparent pricing or efforts to reduce environmental impact, these will all influence these consumers.
Brands like US ethical fashion label Everlane, or the Zero Waste restaurant Tiny Leaf in London are already taking a step in this direction to create the next generation of premium brand experience.

Millennials expect their favoured brand to be as reactive as their friends, and interact with them in the same way: share what you’re doing in real time and respond within seconds.
So building your brand on speed of response (along with integrity and unique value proposition) is a great way to build a connection.
Successful examples of this approach include the lifestyle and fashion brand Obsessee, massively present on social networks, but without any website, and the premium ‘text-to-buy’ beverage brand Dirty Lemon.

Experience is essential brand trait for both Millennials and Gen Z, and what matters most is what they receive (and can share) from both an educational and emotional perspective.
As digital natives, these consumers have effectively re-defined travel marketing, hotels are now competing to create the best Instagram spots, for people to instantly share their experience with the world. Airbnb Trip capitalises on the ‘sharing economy’ and combines house rentals and city discovery, to create bespoke travels based on learning from the locals.

Shared ownership
Never before has the expression, ‘your wardrobe says a lot about you’ been more true. By being less attached to the idea of ownership, Gen Z makes owning luxury fashion goods take a different shape. “Don’t buy couture, share it”: with websites like Couture Collective providing ‘a new wardrobe every fall – without the guilt’, luxury goods are becoming more accessible and increasingly ethical. Ever fancied travelling a private jet? Well now you can with JetSmarter the worlds first on-demand private jet sharing economy.

With Gen Z, luxury goods could become everyday objects: investing in fewer but better things, and spending money on things that will stay with them for a long time.
The brand Permanent Collection, creates clothes and jewels designed based on both historical and contemporary references and pledges to stay in fashion for decades, the store Manufaktum applies the same principle for home living.

So clearly brands that want to attract, and win the loyalty of Generation Z need to take a close look at themselves. Is a re-positioning exercise enough, or does your brand need a radical about face? If you would like to discuss this, or other challenges your brand might be facing, or how a deeper understanding of consumer culture could aid your growth then please get in touch via

This extract is part of our ongoing trend research, to join our mailing list and receive your copy of our monthly trends e-shot Insight sign-up here

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