SEOUL — The future is about a new reality — and a Chinese consumer who will have never known poverty.
Those were two of the themes emerging from the first day of the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference here. The main theme of this year’s event is “Future Luxury” and speakers include Jason Wu, artistic director of Hugo Boss; Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain; author and global head of consumer research at HSBC Erwan Rambourg, and Samsung C&T Corp. president and chief executive officer Lee Seo-hyun.
On the topic of digital interconnectivity, Sophie Hackford, director at Wired Consulting, talked about smartphones and this new age of globalization. “I don’t think smartphones are going anywhere for a while. A whole generation of kids that can use computers are adopting smartphones as a first a foremost — and perhaps only — form of computing,” she said.
Hackford argued that a future of augmented reality including virtual hangouts, travel and shopping lies ahead for consumers. “Virtual reality and augmented reality will have to be social….You can interact with sales assistants and virtual designers and it would be an incredibly compelling customer experience. You could have a completely infinite store with no real estate or rent to pay,” she said.
Vogue China editor in chief, Angelica Cheung gave an update on a new generation of consumers in China. “We are looking at the first generation of Chinese who never experienced poverty,” she said. “They’re mostly one-child family kids, very well-educated, spoiled by their parents and they have two sets of doting grandparents, they have no student loans to pay off, and they live either with their parents or in a property paid for by their parents. And most likely, they have a full-time job — quite well-paid in the still booming Chinese economy….[This is] the first generation of very sophisticated consumers. And they have huge consumption power.”