Luxury fashion may be switching gender and age roles. In much of the world now, the most attractive demographic for such companies as Burberry (BRBY) and Coach (COH) isn’t middle-aged women with sky-high credit limits; it’s twentysomething men with smartphones and self-esteem issues.
Young dandies want to flash blue-chip brands as soon as they can afford them, while older consumers closer to the top of the socioeconomic pyramid don’t have as much to prove.
Not only are these gents making generous incomes, but thanks to increasingly global marketing and media, they don’t have to be anywhere near the epicenters of luxury to know what’s on-trend. These days, a brand with a solid smartphone store can capture opulent returns around the world. Burberry, for example, is now streaming its runway shows online and working on a plan called ‘Customer 360′ to track an individual’s buying habits worldwide.
The report points to a handful of luxury companies making significant investments in luring male shoppers. Michael Kors, for example, is hoping to grow its annual menswear revenue to $1 billion, which would amount to almost a sevenfold increase. Coach, meanwhile, is close to that goal, having expanded its sales to men from $100 million in 2010 to about $700 million today.
The sole exception to the trend is the market in China, where HSBC says women will fuel the future of luxury fashion. Up until the mid-1990s, almost all of the plush purchases in that country were made by men—often as gifts for other men. Half of senior managers in China are now female, and women account for about half of luxury spending. Chinese retailers are playing catch-up on that front.
Read more at Businessweek.