In Australia, the luxury market is maturing. With growth being driven by the wealthy Asian market, delivering luxury experiences is top of mind for brands. According to IBISWorld, this has pushed growth in luxury retailing to 11 percent a year over the past five years to reach $1.8 billion in 2016/17. This growth is forecast to continue at 8.2 percent a year to hit $2.7 billion in 2021/22.
And the luxury advertising investment is following suit. In Australia, the premium ad market which includes everything from travel to automobiles is worth an estimated $750 million. According to Zenith’s Luxury Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, luxury advertising spend rose by 3.0 percent in 2016. This report also indicated that despite increasing digital investments, print remains the most important medium for ‘high luxury’ advertisers.
“Four years ago, every breakfast meeting I had would revolve around ‘future plans for online’,” says Ashley Heath, owner and editorial director of high-end luxury fashion titles Arena Homme+ and POP. “And now, no one really mentions it. It’s a total volte-face.”
This isn’t a one-off experience. Tony Chambers, editor-in-chief of the 100,000-circulation Wallpaper* agrees. “Where there was a question mark over print five years ago, that has now completely gone.”
Of course, that isn’t to say that digital strategies are neglected; it’s simply that the value of print is now no longer a point for debate.
“Five years ago, the general mood was that print didn’t have much longer left,” continues Chambers. “Now it’s the opposite; it’s growing. Brands want both print and digital of course – they need all the touch points. But the print side is more valuable than ever for brands that are moving into the luxury space.”
Race to luxe
Fairfax is one company headlining the race towards the lucrative luxury market in Australia. In August 2017, Fairfax Media’s luxury lifestyle website Executive Style launched a quarterly men’s magazine Executive Style within the pages of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Executive Style is a premium brand extension of the website with the first edition seeing brands such as Audi, Giorgio Armani, and Rolex back the publication.
Media companies aren’t the only ones tapping into the luxury market with print with the travel industry launching quality publications to appeal to this lucrative market.
Take me higher
Flick through the average inflight magazine and you’re faced with content that wouldn’t be out of place in an upmarket newsstand title. Actors, authors and film stars enthuse about their favourite holiday destinations, while leading travel journalists advise on the best hotels and attractions in the world’s most exciting cities.
And it works: American Airline’s relaunch of American Way, which featured the Foo Fighters on the cover, amassed nearly 10,000 likes on Facebook, with one passenger commenting: “I suddenly have the urge to travel somewhere, anywhere, on American Airlines.” Also, British Airways was recently forced to re-stock 10,000 copies of an edition of BA High Life onto its planes, as fans of the issue’s cover star, Benedict Cumberbatch, left the aircraft carrying the magazine.
Creating a luxurious experience depends on creating a perception of exclusivity. Mass marketing on TV, radio or Facebook diminishes the sense that a brand’s product or service is an elite experience for only a few. The tactile and memorable pieces of print make an impression and connect with those most likely to shop for luxury goods in a way that other marketing channels struggle to replicate.
As seen in VoPP Mag Issue three, The Luxury Issue. Subscribe now at valueofpaperandprint.com.au/subscribe.