Luxury industry has been focusing for a long time on their primary customer: women. Indeed, until the late 1990s, the luxury market was mainly targeting women, that represented 65% of their market at that time. Nowadays men are considered as a big potential customer’s segment for luxury brands, that is why they throw themselves into the marketing battle in order to conquer them. The luxury men’s market intents to outperform women’s one.
This change is due to an evolution of the society that occurred since the 1990s. A shift in gender roles and the place of men and women in the society is the most important evolution. Men lifestyle has changed, a lot. Nowadays they intent to adopt a more liberated from traditional confinements. An example of this trend is the boom in health and cosmetic products for men. They are also very interested in fashion and are more and more exigent with the brands. One important feature is that Men are looking for distinctive fashions and luxury goods that express more their new personalities.
New entrants have seen this new segment like an opportunity to compete with big houses like Chanel. But established luxury brands have quickly understood the challenge of this new market and have reacted. For example in 2010 Channel entered the men luxury watch market, or Hermes that opened the same year its first men’s only store in New York. The change in men consumer behavior leads logically to a change of their image in the advertising. The Myth of hegemonic masculinity that has been operated before seem to change currently with the cultural and societal beliefs and values. Luxury brands have changed their codes in advertising to represent the ideal male consumer as a “new man” with more feminine characteristics and/or behavior than before. Of course, the traditional male characteristics did not completely disappear but it started to be mixed with a new one, more feminine. In order to incarnate this “new man”, luxury brands uses models that are not totally smooth and have a strong personality. An example with Olivier Martinez for Dior or Gaspard Uliel for Chanel, that suggests at the end of the spot “become who you are”. Brands like Chanel also represent men in their advertising with a dandy style, showing their feminine characteristics.
To conclude, luxury brands are trying to adapt their advertising in order to convey an image that is more adequate of the man of today. Men are becoming impressive customers. The challenge for luxury brands is to constantly understand and anticipate the social evolution of their customers.