Luxury market loses appeal in face of pandemic

Consumers appear to have a shift in priorities, where self-reflection has increased individuals’ needs towards personal wellbeing

by PRIYA VASU/ pic by BLOOMBERG

THE Covid-19 pandemic has strongly impacted the way consumers perceive their discretionary spending as they adopt cautionary spending behaviour especially for luxury goods that are dispensable, a data analytics firm revealed.

The pickup in luxury segment that includes fashion apparel and accessories; watches and jewellery; perfumes and cosmetics; and luxury travel is very much dependent on the breakthroughs made in developing vaccines against Covid-19 that provides a sense of security for consumers.

“After almost two months in lockdown, consumers appear to have a shift in priorities, where self-reflection has increased individuals’ needs towards personal well-being across the dimensions of physical, emotional, and financial health and security.

“This is indicated through the uptake of essential supplies, while comfort and luxury were compromised during lockdowns,” said

Wisesight Malaysia founder and regional director of the Apac region Shakthi DC.

“It’s likely that the luxury segment and brands offering high-value assets will suffer as people make cutbacks due to the effects of Covid-19 and are shaping up to be the last segments to recover,” she said in a statement yesterday.

According to Wisesight’s study the reopening of the economy will unquestionably bring back some volume in traffic and transactions, albeit with changes in consumer buying behaviours.

However, businesses that have adapted and remained in touch with their audiences throughout the lockdown will find it easier to engage with their customers post-Movement Control Order.

“This is purely because brand loyalty and affinity was actively maintained throughout the lockdown, and the results will show in the target audience’s response,” Shakti explained.

Organisations that create environments and processes with reduced physical contact, increased hygiene and safety measures will be viewed favourably by consumers for embracing measures to reduce infection.

Wisesight analytics also found that the gap in public spending capacity will become apparent when looked into social chatter, typically industries that are considered as non-essential or a luxury.

“This edition’s study covers telecommunication companies (telco), local fashion, gold jewellery and beer industries, angled to derive insights from trends of chatter among consumers when it comes to non-essentials and luxuries. Providing insights into the proportion of consumers who are financially comfortable during the MCO, and indirectly indicate the proportion of those who are not,” the study stated.

“On the other hand, the local fashion and gold jewellery sectors that were pretty stagnant during lockdown have seen increasing interest as the festive season draws near. With hope for the MCO to conclude before Hari Raya, a considerable portion of consumers including non-Muslims are preparing to celebrate the festive season in the new norm,” she added.

Wisesight’s study details the events from April 29-May 5, analysing the reactions and impact on these changes which includes consumers response to the Conditional MCO, top Malaysian’s concerns over the past seven weeks and selected industries’ performance during the MCO (telco, local fashion, gold jewellery and beer industries).