Luxury Market Overview

Luxury goods revenue are estimated to reach US$ 16 billion in Southeast Asia, or approximately 4.3% of the total US$ 369 billion global market revenue, in 2024. While this is a relatively modest market share, this figure reflects substantial year-on-year growth and highlights the region’s evolving stature as a rising star shaping luxury trends and consumption patterns.

With a population exceeding 690 million people, the region offers diverse tastes, preferences, aspirations, and lifestyle orientations, providing avenues for brands to tailor their offerings and engage with diverse market segments. Moreover, the youthful demographic, characterized by a strong affinity for digital technology and social media, opens new channels for luxury brands to connect with target audiences and drive brand engagement.

Southeast Asian Influencers: Tastemakers wooing the aspirational luxury consumers

From Singapore’s Yoyo Cao’s unmissable high-octane glamor at every Fashion Week to Win Metawin’s historic appointment as Prada’s first-ever Thai brand ambassador and Filipino Bretman Rock’s acclaim as ambassador of Beyoncé’s Cécred in February, the growing prominence of Southeast Asian influencers reveals an emerging fascination of global high-end brands towards a new face of luxury.

Speaking to The New York Times, Alison Bringé, the chief marketing officer of brand performance software Launchmetrics, said, “ Asia Pacific bring partner brands both local and global credibility, especially at a time when many shoppers are embracing representation and cultural inspiration outside their home countries.” At recent fashion shows in Europe, fans screaming at the doors for a glimpse of Korean or Thai stars were as likely to be Italian or French as they were Asian.

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Influencers have now become key figures in luxury brands’ marketing strategies, leveraging their power to captivate audiences, shape fashion narratives at a massive scale, and enrich a brand’s story in an era when diversity and inclusivity are particularly poignant. In fact, regional influencers consistently secure top EMV (earned media value) rankings for the brands they represent at the luxury spectacle that is Fashion Week.

As luxury becomes less of an exclusive, unattainable commodity and more of a culture connector that allows people to share experiences and values, influencers democratize access to lifestyle aspirations, thereby shaping perceptions and preferences. Audiences are drawn to the inspiring imagery these influencers curate on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, igniting a desire to emulate these lifestyles for social recognition and personal fulfillment, and consequently driving engagement and consumption for luxury brands.

Southeast Asian influencers are facilitating a shift towards inclusivity, where luxury is not defined by price tags but by the meaningful connections it fosters and the stories it tells.

The Four Emerging Codes of Luxury in Southeast Asia

Vero’s exploration of cultural nuances and insights reveals a deep understanding of the region’s luxury landscape, unveiling four emerging codes of luxury—Selfhood, Legacy, Betterment, and PlayFullness— each driven by different consumer values and defined by traits that encapsulate the multifaceted aspirations and preferences of Southeast Asian luxury consumers.

Selfhood: Luxury as a journey into the self

Luxury Southeast Asia

Today’s “era of me” brings a focus on selfhood, wherein people discover and express their authentic selves and futures based on their distinctive values, goals, and personal stories.

Faced with an overwhelming array of choices and opportunities, young Southeast Asians navigate a complex landscape of cultural diversity, seeking to carve their own paths and assert their true identities. They fearlessly explore and experiment with products and experiences, with the goal of finding their unique voices and sharing those with the world.

This gives luxury brands an opportunity to take part in this journey into the self, crafting experiences that invite self-exploration and expression. Luxury then becomes not just a commodity but a medium through which individuals can shape and redefine their unique narratives.

Consumer Values

Young urbanites – Young and educated, crave a more refined urban lifestyle

Living in the now – Seek pleasure and to enjoy the present, especially after experiencing the 3-year pandemic hiatus

Multi-layered identity – Navigate different layers of identity brought about by a globalized, hyperconnected world

Self-empowered – Focus on life goals beyond social norms to achieve milestones that empower them to be unapologetically themselves

Digital creators – Create digital personas that reflect their lifestyles, aspirations, and passions for the online world to see

Key Traits Defining Selfhood

Active Exploration – Consumers are drawn to brands that enable them to experiment and explore their multifaceted cultural identities. As they become more self-aware, people find new ways – particularly through their choice of luxury goods – to express who they are, what their aspirations are, and how they want to be viewed by society. Ultimately, the ability to express one’s multifaceted cultural identity through luxury consumption represents a form of empowerment and self-actualization.

Creatorship – Social media platforms and digital channels have democratized the creation of content, allowing creators to share their unique perspectives and interpretations of luxury brands with an engaged digital audience. This newfound sense of community fosters a culture of expertise, where consumers pride themselves on their discerning tastes and appreciation for the cultural significance of niche luxury brands. By participating in these online conversations and exchanges, they assert their status as connoisseurs who value individuality, craftsmanship, and the pursuit of beauty in all its forms.

Freedom of Imagination – As luxury evolves into a form of self-expression rather than a status symbol, people embark on a journey toward personal liberation to live authentically. They utilize luxury products to illustrate their ability to think outside the box, envision new possibilities, and embrace change without fear. By investing in high-quality products, consumers demonstrate their commitment to authenticity, challenging conventional notions of luxury while forging a path toward a more fulfilling existence.

Insights from the Experts

Case Studies

To celebrate Kilian Hennessy’s 15th anniversary, Vero was tasked to lead an engaging influencer campaign featuring the exclusive Liquors Collection, spotlighting the Blue Moon Ginger Dash fragrance. This initiative was aimed at elevating brand awareness and showcasing the unique personality of Kilian’s fragrances. The goal was to create a sensory experience for influencers, VIP clients, and consumers that would inspire them to create captivating content that would position Kilian’s fragrances as versatile and perfect on-the-go companion.

To learn more about this campaign, click here.

Selfhood Ambassador

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Legacy: Luxury as a connection to the past, present and future

Luxury Southeast Asia

Whether they are preserving traditional values and culture, connecting with like-minded individuals, or supporting social causes, Southeast Asian luxury consumers desire to make a mark of their own. Their cultural pride is as strong as their determination to show it.

They strive to intertwine their sense of self with a broader social context, using luxury as a means to honor a proud past and envision a progressive future. They seek experiences that evoke both familiarity and enlightenment, viewing luxury not as a transient personal indulgence but as a testament to the enduring richness of Southeast Asia’s cultural heritage.

As leaving a meaningful legacy becomes a life goal for these individuals, luxury brands are in a unique position to anchor their identities on local traditions while advocating social change. With their resources, platforms, and influence on an affluent, highly engaged group, brands can inspire more conscientious and responsible practices that future generations are sure to remember.

Consumer Values

Heritage keepers – Show appreciation for nuanced experiences that evoke a sense of cultural identity and romanticize expressions that are rooted in the richness of local heritage

Hierarchy-centric – Emphasize hierarchical connections such as social class and seeing luxury as an investment to preserve social standing and luxury as status markers

Social elites – Lean on entrepreneurship as product of generational affluence, reflecting ambitions and innovations

Collective-minded – Prioritize the greater, collective good over personal aspirations

Multi-layered identity – Navigate layers of identity influenced by different cultural heritage and experiences

Key Traits Defining Legacy

New Old – The luxury aficionados of Southeast Asia who embrace and celebrate their cultural heritage are seeking avenues to integrate a sense of familiarity and history into their modern lifestyles. This trend manifests in various forms, with consumers showing a growing interest in traditional crafts, textiles, and products made from natural and local materials. Local businesses and communities are given the spotlight here, as people look for authentic experiences that show local relevance.

Visionary Circles – Community holds significant value for luxury clientele, as they desire to be part of a select circle of leaders who are active and engaged in making a difference in the world. This group may include top-tier investors, artists, activists, scholars, and entrepreneurs, offering a sense of purpose and an avenue for quality engagement among people privileged to be among the societal elite. It also serves as a catalyst for personal and professional growth, providing access to valuable networks, mentorship opportunities, and collaborative ventures that enrich the lives of its members and amplify their impact on society.

Changemaking – The age of the enlightened consumer is contributing to the importance of changemaking. While still an emerging mindset, enlightened consumers have become more aware of the social and environmental impact of their purchases and tend to make choices based on their values. They are driven by purpose and responsibility and use luxury as a catalyst for positive societal change. Their purchasing decisions reflect a desire to support brands and initiatives that align with their ethical principles, further shaping the landscape of luxury consumption toward sustainability and social consciousness.

Insights From the Experts

Case Study

Hansgrohe and COTTO, two leading brands in the luxury sanitaryware market, announced their transformative partnership in November 2023, signaling their expansion into Southeast Asian territories. Vero was tasked with managing a grand event to launch the partnership at the Summer House in Nai Lert Park in Bangkok. Our role encompassed supporting Hansgrohe in selecting a suitable event venue, designing all event elements, and ensuring meticulous preparation and execution of the partnership launch.

To learn more about this campaign, click here.

Legacy Ambassadors

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Betterment: Luxury as a commitment to personal growth 

Luxury Southeast Asia

The pursuit of betterment is a timeless human endeavor, a continuous quest to live life to the fullest. For the affluent population of Southeast Asia, luxury mirrors this quest – from acquiring the finest material possessions to investing in enriching experiences. It is also a commitment to self-care and personal growth.

Here, there is a distinct emphasis on function, quality, and the pragmatic integration of luxury into everyday life. This has led to more intentional spending, as people are keen to spend on higher-quality products designed for longevity and convenience over fleeting indulgences.

In response to this evolving luxury mindset, luxury brands need to craft narratives and offer products that cater to consumers’ aspirations for holistic well-being and comfortable living. By embracing sustainability, innovation, and purpose-driven initiatives, luxury brands can position themselves as spreading enduring value and meaning.

Consumer Values

Self-care – Strives to live a balanced and fulfilling life by pursuing a more holistic approach to wellness and overall health.

Aspiring balance – Values slower life pace as they acknowledge the importance of doing activities that allow them to de-stress and relax

Empathy – Comes together for mutual support, embracing a sense of community and a culture of care, especially during challenging times

Comfort-seeking – Seeks reassurance from products and services that allow them to convert their homes into sanctuaries

Economically mindful – Makes more discerning purchasing choices as the mass affluent and middle-class face tighter budgets

Key Traits Defining Betterment

Pragmatic Prestige – A shift is underway from occasional indulgence to everyday functionality. Rather than viewing luxury as a marker reserved for special occasions, consumers embrace a mindset where every purchase serves a purpose, adding both style and substance to their existence. They go for well-made clothing, shoes, accessories as well as home goods and furniture. While these items may command a premium price, their longevity and timeless appeal justify the investment, aligning with the ethos of sustainability and mindful consumption. In this emerging landscape, the fusion of practicality, functionality, and prestige defines the new standard of luxury consumption.

Quiet Luxury – Signaling a departure from traditional norms of luxury consumption, consumers now value subtlety and substance over ostentation. They champion quality, craftsmanship, and timelessness, fueling a broader cultural movement of asserting their unique identities and redefining luxury on their own terms. With consumers opting for fewer but higher-quality items that withstand the test of time, the allure lies not in fleeting trends, but in the enduring appeal of timeless elegance and understated sophistication.

Empowered by Health – Luxury now transcends material possessions to encompass a commitment to self-care and holistic wellness as consumers increasingly recognize health as the cornerstone of productivity and fulfillment. Investments in products and services that nurture physical and mental well-being, from bespoke wellness regimens tailored to address individual needs to exclusive retreats that promote relaxation, are on the rise. In a region where time is a precious commodity, and the demands of modern life are relentless, prioritizing health becomes the ultimate luxury.

Insights From the Experts

Case Study

Lululemon, a global leader in the athleisure and wellness segment, opened its first store in Thailand in 2021. Vero’s challenge was to develop a strategy that would position Lululemon as a symbol of mindful living and well-being in the booming Thai health and wellness market.

To learn more about this campaign, click here.

Betterment Ambassadors

PlayFullness: Luxury as a playground for self-indulgence 

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To perennially curious and intrepid souls, luxury represents an intersection of indulgence, adventure, and leisure. It embodies not just opulence and extravagance, but the concept of “PlayFullness”—characterized by individuals seeking fun and thrills for personal fulfillment.

As Southeast Asian consumers become more affluent and have more leisure time, they embark on journeys that feed their souls and satisfy their insatiable appetites for enjoyment. Whether it is through culinary experiences or adventures to remote corners of the globe, luxury is an indulgent lifestyle choice, a deliberate embrace of the extraordinary and a celebration of life’s most exquisite pleasures.

Brands can become purveyors of aspiration that speak to the desires of modern luxury consumers by creating moments of magic and wonder that leave lasting impressions. By embracing the intersection of indulgence, adventure, and leisure, brands can position themselves as partners in the pursuit of a life well-lived, enriching people’s lives with excitement, discovery, and boundless possibilities.

Consumer Values

Digital creators – Create digital personas that reflect their lifestyles, aspirations, and passions for the online world to see

Young urbanites  – Young and educated, crave a more refined urban lifestyle

Living in the now – Seek pleasure and enjoy the present, especially after experiencing the 3-year pandemic hiatus

Aspire towards balance – Value a slower life pace, as they acknowledge the importance of doing activities that allow them to de-stress and relax

Future-anxious – Fear what the future holds as climate crisis, economic uncertainty, and personal concerns about health, career, and relationships weigh heavily on their minds 

Key Traits Defining PlayFullness

Daily Discoveries – Many people, especially those hooked on social media, have a strong desire to be the first to know and discover things, longing for new and interesting things to learn or experience each day. These experiences can be big or small, but they all have the potential to bring joy amidst the mundane and make people feel more connected to the world around them. Beyond entertainment, discovering new things serves as a coping mechanism for navigating future uncertainties, enabling consumers to pay closer attention to their deepest thoughts and guiding them towards a profound appreciation for the good things in life.

Why So Serious? – Among younger age groups, there is a growing desire to cultivate a persona that aligns with a vibrant, FOMO-driven community. Leveraging humor as a tool, they seek to establish deeper bonds and foster a collective sense of amusement. In-person events, such as interactive exhibits and exclusive product launches, have become cherished occasions to come together for fun and social interaction.

Exclusive Hobbies – As Southeast Asians become more affluent and enjoy more leisure time, they will increasingly look for ways to spend their time and money in a meaningful way. Leisure hobbies offer a sense of achievement, challenge, and enjoyment but also serve as a conduit for connecting with like-minded individuals. This trend resonates particularly strongly with younger demographics, who prioritize experiences over material possessions. They actively seek out exclusive communities and membership clubs tailored to their pursuit of distinctive and refined hobbies, further underscoring the growing importance of experiential engagement in luxury consumption.

Insights From the Experts

Case Study

True to the Brookly-born brand’s emphasis on artisanal craftsmanship, the Le Labo LAVANDE 31 fuses the unconventional with the classic —and the new product deserved a launch event that exceeded traditional expectations.

Vero took on the challenge of creating an event that resembled an olfactory playground that invited the media and select KOLs to a sensory adventure.

The primary objective was to harness the influence of the press and digital content creators, fostering awareness of the new product and transforming the Le Labo’s store at Siam Paragon into a venue that inspires self-expression through the power of scents.

To learn more about this campaign, click here.

PlayFullness Ambassadors

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Elevating Market Success: Strategies for embracing emerging luxury codes

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Communicate with consumers, not at them

The new wave Southeast Asian luxury consumers are sophisticated and empowered, as observed across the four key emerging codes. They have intricate tastes to express, legacies to build, mindfulness to embrace, and curiosity to satisfy. They demand highly personalized communications and experience. Here is how brands can address this:

  1. Strategically, via diversified communication channels.
    Leveraging the mass appeal of social networks like TikTok with aspirational content and influencer endorsements has allowed for a more relatable (and shareable) brand storytelling, but brands should also think of more private channels where their customers can find a more curated interaction. For example, newsletters can bring a strong element of personalization. And nowadays, video assets can even be mass-customized for distribution thanks to AI. In addition, digital private groups hosted on WhatsApp or Discord foster a sense of elevated community.
  2. Creatively, by weaving local storylines into a global narrative.
    For people who value the four emerging luxury codes studied above, standardized content and stories aren’t enough to hold their attention and foster loyalty. Brands should prioritize bold, local, and regional stories that resonate emotionally over global assets. Collaborating with local talents in film, photography, plastic arts, crafts, and music helps authentically convey a brand’s message and strengthens local connections.

Develop high-value collaborations with influencers

The growth of the creator economy in the realm of luxury signifies growing trust in the values and lifestyles that influencers and social media personalities represent. Brands should push the envelope of brand-influencer relationships further by forging high-value collaborations that prioritize shared goals and ethos as much as reach and endorsement.

Selecting the right influencers can be challenging, but technology and innovative methodologies can help analyze and determine those who align best with a brand’s identity and mission. For example, Vero’s proprietary influencer marketing stack, InFluent, features comprehensive processes and methodologies for managing influencer campaigns and measuring content effectiveness. Part of this stack is TrueVibe, a data-led influencer identification tool that helps brands identify and engage with influencers who can deliver optimal impact and results for their campaigns.

It is also worth noting that influencer-brand collaborations can become more valuable when influencers are given the freedom to contribute creatively and express their authenticity. Their role is to translate a brand story into a human narrative, allowing audiences to connect with a brand more naturally.

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Engage with cultural and creative communities

For people in Southeast Asia, luxury is becoming less about what they have and more about who they are – and this is clearly reflected in the consumer values and key traits we’ve identified here. They embark on journeys and seek moments that help them discover more about their values and join communities that share their passions and aspirations.

With this shift towards personal growth, authenticity, and connection over mere ownership of high-end products, it will be highly valuable for brands to maintain meaningful relationships with relevant venues like galleries, F&B hotspots, creative hubs, and private creative networks. This can involve PR strategies such as collaborating with influential artists, designers, or tastemakers to create limited-edition collections or curate unique experiences, amplifying brand credibility and fostering a sense of community among a highly-engaged audience.

Create immersive, inspiring moments

Luxury brands have the power to create moments that transcend the ordinary and ignite the imaginations of their consumers. By designing memorably immersive events, they can invite their audiences to step into their world and experience their brand story in a visceral way. Whether it’s a VIP event or a product launch, every touchpoint should inspire consumers to embody the brand identity and become ambassadors of luxury.

For example, a brand can transform an art space into a venue that showcases its history, craftsmanship, and design philosophy, allowing luxury aficionados to immerse themselves in the brand’s essence and feel a sense of exclusivity and belonging. This can foster a strong connection and loyalty that goes beyond the product itself.

Similarly, interactive events like fashion shows and invitation-only travel and cultural experiences can create a unique setting to deepen participants’ relationships with the brand by witnessing firsthand their values and flair in action. This can also provide consumers with a venue to interact with one another, where they can share their experiences, recommendations, and mutual appreciation for the brand.

Vero Xperience is dedicated to conceptualizing and facilitating these meaningful brand-consumer moments. Recognizing the significance of these personal interactions between brands and their target market, Vero Xperience uses expertise and creativity to craft immersive experiences that showcase a brand’s essence and make participants feel valued.

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Luxury consumption in Southeast Asia is shifting as the new generation of affluent consumers are impacted by global trends, immersed in influencer culture, and eager to redefine luxury on their own terms. They seek products and experiences that enable them to express their authentic selves, connect with like-minded communities, and achieve personal fulfillment.

Selfhood, Legacy, Betterment, and PlayFullness — these four emerging codes of luxury encapsulate the diverse preferences and demands of Southeast Asian luxury consumers, each characterized by unique yet interconnected motivations, desires, and aspirations.

As the region continues to grow and diversify, the luxury market will encounter new opportunities and challenges. To stay ahead, luxury brands must anticipate the evolving needs and expectations of their consumers. By embracing these emerging codes of luxury, adapting to the dynamic market landscape, and investing in influencer partnerships or crafting immersive and exclusive experiences, luxury brands can leave a lasting impression and cultivate a loyal following in the region.

Elevate your standing in Southeast Asia’s luxury landscape, let’s talk: