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Diversity in the luxury retail industry | ALW2019

Arab Luxury World 2019 hosted a panel discussing the role of diversity and inclusiveness in the luxury sector, under the title Diversity in the Luxury Retail Industry.

Many questions are asked about the importance of linking brands in the movement of the genre as well as the growth created by diversity This reflects positively on business revenues and the culture of institutions that continue to evolve with the Digital transformation "I am a firm believer that being inclusive and being diverse are complimentary" - Dima Ayad, PR & Marketing Consultant at 11Honore

The 6th edition of the Arab Luxury World Conference, the leading event in the luxury sector in the Middle East, was launched today at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, titled "Digital Transformation with a focus on data and high-end segmentation". The conference is a vital platform that brings together experts in the luxury sector at the regional and global levels to engage in meaningful talks on the latest trends and the most prominent challenges that companies face today.

The retail sector is encouraged to adapt flexibly to today's challenging market. It is no secret that the luxury sector in the region is also facing significant changes, with the increasing consumer focus on digital interaction, the renaissance of luxury business complexes and the challenge posed by e-commerce.

The conference will include several panel discussions, one of which deals with the theme of diversity in the luxury retail industry, where many questions will be asked about the importance of linking brands in the movement of the genre as well as the growth created by diversity, which reflects positively on business revenues and the culture of institutions that continue to evolve with the Digital transformation.

Luxury used to be defined by exclusivity, and while that’s still true in that brands rely on limited quantities and high prices to keep their products desirable, it’s no longer true in the way they have to treat their potential customers.

Bain & Co points to the necessity of speaking directly to different groups and cultures as one of the key trends defining luxury in the years ahead. Competition is only getting tougher between brands right now.

"The most important part of luxury is the relationship with our customers – and diversity is a key element," Alexander Schmiedt, Regional Brand Director at Vacheron Constantin, explained during the panel. "The Middle East region here has two separate worlds. From my experience, Dubai is one of the most diverse places and a true melting pot of nationalities. But on the other hand, we also have a very local market that is different, such as in Qatar"

Alexander Schmiedt, Regional Brand Director at Vacheron Constantin

Bain & Co estimates that 40% of women’s luxury ready-to-wear can already be categorized as modest or modest-accepted fashion.

Another example is the expanded range of sizes luxury brands are offering as they work to convince women they’re listening to and serving all their needs, not just those from size 0 to 12.

"I am a firm believer that being inclusive and being diverse are complimentary," Dima Ayad, PR & Marketing Consultant at 11Honore, said during the panel. "We involve ourselves in finding a solution and bringing it to women across all types of ethnicities, backgrounds, sizes, and preferences. In the world of fashion today, it would be very naive to think that we can be only mainstream. It is important to stay inclusive and be diverse."

Ayad continued: "Diversity is a mindset. It's a way of acting. It's a way to drive your business … People want to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of growth, a sense of inspiration, and a sense of fun. In fact, if we're really looking at employee engagement and retention, the way you engage with them and create an experience for them is crucial."

Bain & Co says that about 20% of the luxury ready-to-wear market has inclusive sizing.  

Lovato says other examples of culture driving what people buy include the push for sustainability, the move among brands to ditch fur, and the emphasis on diversity.

It is reported millennials and gen Z will make up about 55% of luxury buyers in 2025, and will be the force fueling all its growth. They are much more demanding and brands have to know who its customers are and what they want. 

The UAE capital Abu Dhabi saw the addition of 100,000 square feet to the available retail space between 2014 and 2018, to 2.7 million square feet in 2018, while Dubai saw the addition of 900,000 square feet for the retail sector during the same period, reaching the total area Currently 3.8 million sq ft.