German design brand AXOR and consultancy The Future Laboratory have joined forces to author a 31-page whitepaper that outlines why the values of luxury buyers are shifting, and how brands will need to respond.

As the world becomes increasingly urbanized and we face mounting crises, consumer values are changing. The market for luxury goods is turning to a progressively minimal – and compact – model. ‘Compact Luxury is about bringing notions of luxury to consumers in few sq-m,’ the report’s authors explain. AXOR and The Future Laboratory believe that three trends – Liberated Living, Immaterial Affluence and Conscious Wellbeing – will define high-ticket consumption for years to come. 

For example: ‘co-culture’ – co-living, co-working and co-creating – is providing wealthy consumers with the flexibility to work and live nomadically. Liberated Living reflects that people consequently no longer need to be tied down to time, place and mortgages, and that the use of spaces and products will adapt resultingly. ‘Luxury, for the new consumer, is about being able to get what you need when you need it, and reducing the private space down to the essentials,’ explains Simon Saint, principal and Global Sector Leader  Residential at Woods Bagot.

Immaterial Affluence, the second trend identified, reflects the less extravagant ways in which shoppers are choosing to exercise their spending power. The report cites YouGov’s 2019 Affluent Perspective survey: 77 per cent of luxury buyers across the APAC, North American and European markets say that they now make fewer, and more meaningful, purchases. ‘A growing anxiety around the display and pursuit of wealth is forcing younger, more affluent individuals to re-examine what luxury means to them,’ notes The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond, crediting, in part, growing consciousness of global income inequality and the climate crisis. 

This attention to sustainability – not only for the planet, but for its people – has been a factor in the rapid evolution of the wellness sector. And the pandemic has only quickened the move toward Conscious Wellbeing. Designs that ensure air quality, anti-microbial sanitation and maximum relaxation are increasingly valued. More than ever, the home functions as a sanctuary, a place to recharge. Domestic spaces that require sanitary fittings – the bathroom and kitchen – will undergo significant transformation in light of these shifts. 

FastMr projects the smart bathroom market, for instance, to achieve compound annual growth of 11.2 per cent between 2020 and 2025. Developing technology will enable consumers to optimize the programmability, efficiency, hygiene and environmental footprint of such areas. ‘ You’ll start to see standard blueprints where specifications are customizable for a consumers’ specific interest,’ says Saint. ‘So if they’re into cooking, they compromise some space for an extra oven, or if they’re into wellness, their bathroom appliances include smart technology to help track their health stats.

‘What can architects and interior designers do not just to optimize spaces but to enhance them? To infuse them with character, meaning and soul? To deliver on the very personal perception of what luxury is for each and everybody? These are the questions we are exploring with this project,’ Anke Sohn, Head of AXOR Brand Marketing explains.

Explore more about Compact Luxury and the future of urban living by downloading the full 31-page whitepaper here.