As brand director of the global licensing group at Informa Markets, Steven Ekstract believes both luxury and licensing “work as a result of emotional connections made by the consumer.” Here, Ekstract discusses the challenges brands face in the current climate and how licensing is evolving to help redefine the luxury retail landscape. WWD: The luxury market is a trillion-dollar industry, but despite such revenue, luxury retailers are facing new challenges in today’s evolving digital marketplace. Can you speak to these challenges? Steven Ekstract: The biggest challenge is the definition of what luxury is now versus 10 years ago. The lines are blurring, particularly with fashion. The old school fashion designers that used to control the business are no longer in control and the print fashion magazines that supported them have a fast-aging audience. Traditional luxury brands are shifting their marketing and media expenditure to social media and influencer messaging. Social media and influencers have become much more critical to the promotion of luxury fashion brands.
Steven Ekstract Courtesy image.
Many of the major luxury brands are focusing much of their marketing efforts in Asia, and in particular, China, as China is the fastest-growing luxury market in the world today. I also believe that there is a
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