THE CHANGING FACE OF LUXURY

How the digital revolution has changed the luxury market.

Whether the phrase ‘digital revolution’ is a positive demonstration of humankind’s pioneering ability to advance or one that fills readers with a sense of dread at the deterioration of the species’ ability to communicate, there’s no doubt that it has brought with it sweeping changes to the way we live our lives.

From hailing a taxi to having groceries delivered to our doors, everything is now available at the click of a button. While computers have caused a surge in e-commerce, the advent of smartphones – to a point of near ubiquity – has taken this to a whole new level and the accessibility of such services raises the question of how we perceive ‘luxury’ in the modern world.

There are two key elements to the definition of luxury. The first, ‘A state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense,’ conjures an image of sipping champagne on a Superyacht. The second – ‘An inessential, desirable item which is expensive or difficult to obtain,’ – is where things get more interesting.

The myriad of available apps – to the extent that the phrase, ‘There’s an app for that,’ has been coined – highlights the rarity of exclusivity in the digital age. With so many services available with increasing immediacy, some of which may have previously been out of reach, the concept of luxury is a diminishing notion. Fifty years ago, color television was considered a luxury, but advancements in technology have ensured there’s now a flat screen in every home.

And that’s the crux of it – luxury can largely be defined by the ability to access it. Research shows that more and more people are taking advantage of the trend of technology bringing luxury into the mainstream. One recent study into the ‘The Future of Retail’ found that over a quarter of shoppers had purchased a luxury item online in the past year, more than quadruple that of two years prior.

Where luxury used to be out of people’s reach, everyone now aspires to it, and Millennials and Generation Z are the most attuned to the digital revolution, there existing a mindset amongst youngsters that they have a right to previously inaccessible services and products. Another study projects that, by 2025, these age segments will account for almost half of the global personal luxury goods market. Social media has played a large part in fueling this given the requirement for friends to broadcast their activities and accomplishments, whether snapping selfies, posting about their purchases or ‘checking in’ at the airport while waiting for a flight abroad.

This surge of innovation has finally made its way into the last luxury service to benefit from the digital revolution – private jet travel. Originally designed for efficiency of travel, private jets became a luxury because a lack of technology hindered their accessibility to the mainstream travelers. The problems lay in the booking process – highly complex due to the bespoke nature of the service and the number of variables that must be considered when calculating the cost of a private jet flight. Until very recently this was all done manually by aircraft operators, because the technology didn’t exist to automate this process and fliers had to rely on a broker to provide them with quotes that were invariably overpriced and came with hidden surcharges.

Innovation has been at the heart of our transition to a species that demands immediacy in every walk of life. Technology has brought luxury products to the masses, whether this is shopping, dining or management of a busy lifestyle for those who are time-poor. Online booking of holidays and commercial flights, for example, has been common for many years now.

In contrast, private jets have come late to the digital party, lagging behind other forms of transport when everything else is accessible at the click of a button or swipe of a finger. The irony is that a service originally intended to be used for convenience has become a thing of luxury due to lack of technology. But now that the technology finally exists in the industry, private jets are being opened up to a new wave of mainstream travelers.

 

About the Author

Jonathan Nicol is the Founder and CEO of Stratajet, a revolutionary platform that has brought private aviation into the 21st Century. Stratajet is using the power of technology to provide passengers with private jet travel at its most flexible and affordable.

Stratajet was founded in 2011 by Jonathan Nicol. He is a former RAF fighter pilot, turned computer scientist, Stratajet boasts the most sophisticated technology in the private jet industry, making it the only platform capable of filtering through millions of calculations in mere seconds to return all the available aircraft for any given flight search. The result is more options of aircraft to charter at the lowest costs and Stratajet is unique in allowing customers to then book at the click of a button.

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