The luxury goods industry is increasingly recovering from the pandemic. This can be seen in the international agenda of trade shows, congresses and conferences. Their number has now almost returned to pre-covid19 levels; and the proportion of exclusively digital or hybrid events is falling. TBTL is pleased to provide you with the latest update on the current event calendar.
It is available for download here: Luxury Industry Events 2021/22.
Although conditions are normalizing, there will be no status quo ex ante in the aftermath of Corona. Even before 2020, the luxury industry was already intensively discussing the future of the big shows, for example in the automotive world (IAA Frankfurt), the jewelry and watch industry (Baselworld) or fashion (Paris). Now, the pandemic raises more than ever the question about the future raison d’être of trade shows & co.
It is not yet possible to predict the extent to which big events will retain their importance in the strategic marketing mix of major brands. However, some trends can already be identified:
- Their high expenses make big events per se a target for cost minimization of luxury brands.
- During the pandemic, budgets were cut massively. It is doubtful that they will ever reach previous levels.
- In order to minimize costs, one or the other large luxury brand is likely to be increasingly tempted to launch new products and cultivate contacts with consumers and the media via in-house trade shows or smaller local events, possibly even limited to its retail network.
- Due to falling demand, not all events will therefore survive in the long term or will then only take place in a scaled-down or digital form.
- This will accelerate concentration processes among event service providers and their internationalization.
As much as optimizations in sales and communications mixes are understandable from the perspective of luxury brands, the long-term consequences of shifted budget allocations are important when evaluating costs and benefits.
As CEO of high-end brands and as a strategy consultant with now 25 years of professional luxury experience, I have always considered trade shows, congresses and conferences as a business card of the luxury industry as such. The events are a statement of our identity: self-confidence, culture, power, creativity, experience, generosity, competence … They are supposed to impress the world.
So the big question is: Do we as an industry give in to the further democratization of luxury and, for example, with our strong focus on omnipresent social media and online selling, contribute to its profanation, vulgarization and thus to its long-term demise? Or do we continue to dare those trade show investments that we also demand from consumers on a daily basis in expecting product purchases: Investments into the seemingly irrationality!
For these intra-industry and public events, the large luxury groups in particular have a great responsibility. Their financing of trade shows are generic, synergistic and worthwhile investments into the global meta-brand LUXURY, on whose splendor we depend. But trade show organizers, cities, local gastronomy, etc. are also called upon to do everything they can to keep the shows alive: reasonable prices and excellent services. For too long, luxury brands have been understood as cash cows rather than customers.