We have recently discussed 4 industries that have grown in Italy over the past decade. In order to give a realistic account of the current state of Italian industry and its exports, however, we should also note the industries that have stayed constantly strong and at the top of their respective markets for much longer. Italian luxury brands are among the most sought after in the world, so much so that the Made in Italy brand is often considered synonymous with style, elegance and class.
The constant growth
The luxury market is known for sailing more or less comfortably through the worst of an economic crisis. While other industries crunch and shrink, this field seems steadily set on a path of growth and prosperity. The worst consequence that luxury brands have experienced so far, from the unsteady economic climate, are slower growth rates. The fact that 29 out of the 100 top luxury brands in the world are Italian (according to the 2016 Deloitte Report on Global Powers of Luxury) should give you an idea of how relevant such brands have proved in the context of the national economy. Not only Italian luxury brands dominate the market, but they also seem to grow faster than other brands in the same category.
Italian luxury brands: a family affair
Despite Italian luxury brands making up almost 30% of the top 100 luxury brand list, they contribute to its total revenue to the tune of approximately 17%. The reason behind these apparently conflicting data is that most Italian luxury brands are still owned and managed by the family that originally founded them. While some believe that this family-oriented set up might have stifled these companies’ potential growth, supporters of this business model argue that slower growth and more manageable size have allowed them to maintain the quality standards that keep these same brands at the top of their market. We are of course still talking about brands that boast annual revenue that can compete with the GDP of a small country: the top Italian luxury brand appears to be Luxottica, ranking fourth in the global list, with 10 billion dollars’ worth of annual revenue. The runner ups, Prada and Armani, rank respectively 15th and 21st internationally, with annual revenues below five billion.
Tradition and innovation
The idea of Italian quality is firmly imprinted in the minds of international consumers as being connected to tradition and craft. The idea of goods being produced on a global scale with the same care and attention to detail that one would expect from an artisan is part of the international appeal of Italian fashion, accessories and luxury cars. All these products share attributes that are normally connected with the sides of the Italian character that make it internationally appealing: a certain understated hedonism and a tendency to the unapologetic enjoyment of the good things in life. Hollywood has contributed in no small measure to the perpetuation of these stereotypes, so much so that they have stayed true, to an extent. However, Italian luxury brands have been making excellent use of the latest techniques when it comes to marketing, which has allowed them to thrive at a time when the luxury markets are experiencing a major shift. Audiences have grown more aware of their importance to brands and expect quality content and quality interaction from a brand, even when they are not engaged in the process of buying goods. Social media marketing appears to be as popular among luxury brands as it is among consumer brands, but it pursues different objectives. Whereas most brands aim at generating lead and making sales on social media, luxury brands aim at offering their customers a unique experience and at building and strengthening their identity and finding their voice.