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Opinion

The silver lining of an economic crisis

Fabio Bonavita

By Fabio Bonavita05 juin 2020

It's the same old story: in times of economic crisis, we channel our resources and attention towards those segments of the population that can still afford to spend. The luxury sector is certainly no exception, and our growing obsession with Millennials seems to have magically been replaced by an older target: the "silver generation". In perhaps the latest example, French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus has launched a campaign on Instagram featuring his very hip grandmother Liline in one post smiling for the camera in an impeccable white suit against a vivid fuchsia backdrop, in another resplendent in a grass-covered field, wearing a full-length summer dress. The honest and carefree joy she exudes stands in stark contrast to the uber­glossy image that prevails at times in the fashion world.

But Jacquemus is not the only brand to have gone prospecting for silver. Other notable entries include Celine’s octogenarian muse Joan Didion, Dolce&Gabbana with the sublime Sophia Lauren, and Saint-Laurent with a 76-year-old Joni Mitchell. These artistic choices reflect a carefully crafted marketing strategy. According to a study carried out by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) in the United States, France and Japan, luxury purchases by senior citizens now account for 55% of world sales. This number is set to grow even further, considering that globally two billion people will be over 50 by 2050. But there is more: according to the study, 65% of senior citizens love luxury products, 95% appreciate product excellence and quality, and 86% value exceptional service. These are demanding customers with a winning card to play: their purchasing power, which is less exposed to economic downturn. And that’s something that has not gone unnoticed among luxury brands.

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