The global luxury market, which saw a downturn in the last few years due to economic headwinds appears to be finally turning a corner, says luxury consultancy Bain & Company. Luxury brands have reason to be optimistic again after seeing their 2017 figures pick up thanks largely to the renewed generosity of affluent Chinese consumers.
Although the turnaround has not reached many parts of Asia, including Southeast Asia, Singapore is thought to be on the mend again. However, challenges remain as the divide between winners and losers continues to widen in a globally competitive landscape, meaning the luxury sector in Singapore must re-strategize — and fast — or risk fading into mediocrity.
The city-state’s tourism gurus and economic czars have a solution, if one sees its potential: “Passion Made Possible.”
That is Singapore’s new tagline, which the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Economic Development Board (EDB) unveiled last month as part of a new campaign to market the city-state to tourists, consumers, investors and businesses under a holistic and unified brand.
“Passion Made Possible” is designed to mean different things to different people. In the luxury space, it targets more affluent and discerning travelers, and innovative investors who seek transformational experiences that fulfill values and aspirations. Such a pitch makes sense since Singapore already enjoys a reputation as a place for the well-heeled to live, work and play.
The potential synergies between “Passion Made Possible” and the luxury lifestyle were articulated by STB Chief Executive Lionel Yeo, who said “this brand is in line with quality tourism as it will appeal to the more sophisticated tourists who are seeking more aspirational value propositions in their travel.”
Likewise, the campaign presents opportunities to reenergize the luxury industry as Singapore transitions from an investment-driven to an innovation-led economy that can create new products and services with a stronger impact on Asia, according to EDB Chairman Dr. Ben Swah Gin.
The “Passion Made Possible” brand will be marketed across 15 countries worldwide including key ones such as China, India and Indonesia. Singapore’s luxury sector would do well to ride the global wave that the campaign has initiated and reach out to lucrative overseas markets particularly in Asia.
Singapore occupies a position of strength in the tourist and consumer space. It topped a 2016 list as the destination with the highest tourism spending in the Asia-Pacific, with the luxury segment likely making a major contribution.
For the affluent consumer, the look and feel of the experience is very much the trend that drives spending today. The “Passion Made Possible” campaign offers discerning tourists and consumers an array of experiences that variously appeal to their lifestyles and interests via identifiers called “Passion Tribes.” Luxury players have the opportunity for their brands to epitomize these intangible ideals which have become the ultimate currency in luxury. Remember, it is not about “what I have” but “who I am.”
The Passion Tribe of “Collector” allows luxury retailers to reach out to the free-spending fashionista from China who adores French couture, or the collector of luxury timepieces from Singapore who appreciates precision craftsmanship. Singapore’s fine-dining scene, boosted by the launch of the world-renowned Michelin Guide here, has the opportunity to reach out to a bigger and untapped audience by leveraging the publicity-generated through the tribe of the “Foodie” who, perhaps, has always been interested in a three Michelin Star experience.
Hub of luxury business
Singapore enjoys a reputation as one of the best places to live and do business. These attributes mean it continues to be an attractive market for investors and businesses looking to capitalize on the latest consumer and lifestyle trends, particularly in the high-end segment where spending power is greater.
And don’t forget where Singapore is located, at the heart of the booming Asian region seen as the new growth frontier for luxury tourism and hospitality. The “Passion Made Possible” campaign can add fresh impetus in attracting more luxury brands to flock to Asia, which is predicted to be the region that will see the fastest growth in UHNW (Ultra High Net Worth) wealth in the next ten years.
Luxury brand Coach, for instance, has set up direct business operations in Singapore, while electric car maker Tesla has set up an office in Singapore which could serve as a beacon city for electric vehicle adoption in the rest of Southeast Asia.
Singapore’s “Passion Made Possible” campaign offers travelers seeking that truly rewarding experience and businesses working to break new ground an invaluable opportunity to redefine luxury as they see it.