Opening the first day with a keynote speech was Co-Chief Executive Officer and partner of Havas ME, Patrick Chalhoub. Delivering an insightful speech on the transition of the luxury industry in the MENA region, Patrick highlighted how we are seeing a growth that has taken a decline in recent times, marked by a more mature market rather than a market relying on oil and abundance.
GCC consumers are evolving and are now entering into a new phase of maturity, knowledge, seriousness and more rigorous governance. “For every challenge there is an opportunity” said Patrick, speaking of the next generation. “Adapting to the ‘new norm’ will open doors for existing opportunities. We will need to continue to be proactive, agile, and innovative in order to continue to thrive in the region”.
The presentation was in coordination with the release of The Chalhoub Group’s 4th white paper, and set the tone for the remainder of the conference which included similar outlooks by leading industry professionals.
Key topics throughout the first day included ‘GCC outlook’ a discussion on the current status of the luxury market including government budgets and the current downturn in oil prices. ‘Instagram and luxury- A catalyst for creativity’ which covered the increased usage of the platform, with over 400 million users worldwide and how luxury brands are using it more frequently for advertising purposes. ‘Digital Strategy’ which focused on the trends that are developing around marketing luxury brands in the region, digital budgets, and industry pitfalls. One topic that is highly relevant at the moment is Programmatic. This was discussed in a session titled ‘Luxury Brands and Programmatic: Redefining the Model.’ Programmatic advertising has transformed the online ad-buying model, and although many clients and brands are adapting to this change, many are still hesitant to embrace this new concept.
The second day was opened by an industry veteran- Olivier Echaudemaison, Creative Director of Guerlain. Olivier talked about the importance of the creative connection, and how creativity is at the heart of every emotion. In comparison to European consumers, Middle Eastern consumers spend almost 10 times more on luxury goods, and the mindsets of these individuals are changing. Brands had previously focused on selling and bringing new products, but today it’s all about brands that create an emotional connection. Consumers want to feel and to understand the emotion and the magic of the brand.
Following this, David Friedman, Co-Founder and President of Wealth-X, touched on ‘The spending and needs of HNWI’s’ which was an in-depth look into the expectations and evolution of these select few. Interesting facts included that the Middle East ranks at number 4 in the top 10 in terms of spending’s of HNWI’s, with the average person spending more than 1M US$ on luxury goods (excluding real estate).
Throughout the remainder of the day experts covered a range of topics including ‘Social Media’, ‘The Rise of Influencers in the Middle East’, ‘Arab Millennials and Luxury, amongst many more’.
Julien Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest commented “The region has been changing. 10 years ago the Middle East was barely on the map for many luxury brands. Today the Middle East is on the map.
Arab luxury world was created to ensure that the region is part of the conversation. We bring together brands, distributors, operators, and retailers to discuss the industry, the challenges and the opportunities.
Arab luxury world has over the last three years evolved to become the place and time for the industry to come together and discuss the future of the region in luxury and retail. Arab luxury world is about knowledge, learnings and connection. We bring unique data, research and insight.”
The 2 day conference, strategically sponsored by the Chalhoub Group, welcomed more than 700 professionals from around the globe and was an overall insightful conference into the evolution of the luxury market in the Middle East.
For more information on the event, please visit the Arab Luxury World website.