I have been doing research for my proposal and looking at the interactions between luxury brands and the African market. The top 75 luxury brands referred to in the reports are mainly European and American with a few Asian luxury houses. What stood out for me is the absence of African luxury houses in these reports. How do African luxury brands get into the top 75 global luxury brands?
In my mind, the essence of African craftsmanship is luxurious bespoke pieces where craftspeople handcraft each product patiently and with locally available raw material – each piece slightly different from the other.
Luxury products are defined as products that are not essential to basic needs and for which demand rises proportionately with a rise in income. African consumers have over time become wealthier and luxury brands view Africa as their next growth frontier. The expectation is that the ultra-wealthy in Africa will increase by 59% (fifty-nine percent) over the next decade with Zambia leading the growth. Currently Africa’s ultra-wealthy are concentrated the cities and reside in:
JohannesburgІ CairoІ LagosІ Cape TownІ NairobiІ Dar es SalaamІ AbujaІ Addis AbabaІ MarrakeshІ Kano.
E-commerce has also made luxury goods more accessible and has created opportunities for luxury firms to take advantage of online retail. There are many opportunities for African luxury brands to grow:
- The market is at our doorstep
African luxury shoppers spend their money in international destinations. Luxury hubs already exist especially with clothes, accessories, accommodation and safari packages. Do Africans own the brands and how can we scale existing brands while retaining lux priniciples? There is scope for more local luxury lifestyle products that cater to the African market.
Online and brick-and-mortar presence caters for the varied buying patterns of luxury consumers. We may have institutional voids and infrastrustire problems, but this can be overcome. Consumers spend a lot of time online but also shop in store. Instagram is a great platform to showcase products and other aspirational platforms.
- African luxury shoppers spend their money in international destinations
We have our homework cut out for us. How do we create credible luxury firms and luxury hubs that can make luxury shoppers spend money in Africa?
- Our DNA is luxurious bespoke pieces
How can we push the envelope in order to uplift African luxury brands through investments and partnerships? We already have luxury in our DNA, we just need to take it to market.
- We have experience with “locally global” execution strategies
African luxury brands have the ability customise and personalise customer experiences, brand content and to tell a story. This can easily be replicated and customised in global markets. International designers are beating African designers to the market with our own motifs.
Africa is becoming a powerhouse and there is a new narrative on luxury brands Africa has a growing demand for luxury with a growing brand loyal population that is ready to be enticed by African luxury brands!
Barnard, L. (2016). Fashion’s New Frontier. Retrieved from Sphere Life: http://www.spherelife.com/fashions-new-frontier
Deloitte. (2014). Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2014 In the hands of the consumer. London: Delotte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
KPMG. (2015). Sector Report: Luxury Goods in Africa. Johannesburg: KPMG.