It is a realistic portrait drawn by the firm Bain & Company in his new study “Luxury and technology, a new era” which measures the adoption of new technologies in luxury. This study was carried out by surveying the 75 Member Houses of the Comité Colbert, on their level of adoption of 16 technologies.
A relatively low level of technology adoption
Between May and June 2022, 39 Houses responded. The study also reproduces interviews with leaders of Houses, consortia and technology partners and various documentary research and experience of Bain & Company. Finding of the study, the level of adoption of new technologies in luxury remains relatively low.Luxury is only at the beginning of its technological adoption. There needs to be a cultural revolution within luxury houses, concerning talents, organization, working methods and digital platforms. We need a pooling of forces and an openness to technological advances in other sectors. The main obstacle is the feeling that the use cases are perceived as having little relevance. The Houses are also facing a shortage of skills in the field.
” The adoption of new technologies in luxury is only in its infancy” says Mathilde Haemmerlé, Partner in charge of the Luxury division at Bain & Company Paris. ” These can play a central role in the profound transformation of the sector in the service of customers, operational excellence and sustainable development” she continues. “The fields of application to be explored are still numerous and promising. Joining forces across the sector will be a powerful accelerator she advises.
Only three technologies have an adoption rate above 30%
Only three technologies, RFID, 3D printing and 3D imaging have an adoption rate above 30% of the Luxury Houses surveyed. Conversely, luxury is becoming a pioneer in the adoption of technologies such as the metaverse and NFTs. Half of luxury houses are testing these two technologies or planning to do so within three years.The pace of adoption that is emerging today is accelerating. The Houses are currently testing an average of 3 additional technologies or plan to do so in the next three years. The most advanced Houses are testing up to 7 technologies. These test phases concern almost all technologies and in particular the most emerging or avant-garde such as NFTs, metaverse, blockchain, holography, gloves and haptic screens which make the gripping of objects felt from a distance , emotion detection neural analysis helmets and body scanning scanners.
To date, the Houses are mainly investing in technologies that target customer engagement in a concrete way and that enrich the customer relationship, so that it is both practical, seamless, hyper-personalized and experiential. The challenge is for the experience to be consistent across all distribution channels. These stages include visualization technologies with 3D imaging and virtual or augmented reality, which have already been widely adopted.
Invest in the 3D digitization of products
The study underlines that it will be necessary to invest in the 3D digitization of products in order to implement augmented reality. The objective is to personalize and enrich the experiences of distance selling, cross-channel and immersion in the universe of brands. The practical side must allow easy exchange with the seller, easy access to his selection of products and benefit from a virtual fitting, whether it is fashion or beauty.The level of adoption is lower for technologies serving operational excellence. RFID is one of the most adopted technologies. The blockchain, for its part, concentrates the experiments, with 39% of the Houses which are in the test phase. Blockchain provides end-to-end product traceability. Next comes artificial intelligence. It aims to optimize stock allocation, supply chain fluidity and collection structures. 29% of Houses are in the test phase and 19% have adopted it. More than half of the Houses use it for predictive demand management and some to guide the creative process.
In terms of operational excellence, the challenges are precision, anticipation and automation. The main concern is that the product is available for sale in real time, and if there is only one copy in the store if it is reserved or not. On the quality side, automated optical inspection for example, is currently adopted by only 16% of the sector, but it is tested or plans to be tested in the next three years by 33% of the industry.
Experiments multiply with new materials
Finally, technology is not yet perceived as a catalyst for reducing the carbon footprint of luxury companies. However, experiments are multiplying at various stages of the value chain with new materials and eco-responsible manufacturing processes. There is also the use of artificial intelligence integrated into sales forecasts in order to produce as accurately as possible, the creation of virtual twins of operations, etc.The study concludes on the fact that the major luxury groups have an important driving role in advancing the industry as a whole, and training the smallest Houses in the technological challenges. During the study, sixteen technologies were selected and submitted for the opinion of the Luxury Houses are. These are biotechnologies, molecular recycling, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and machine learning for process optimization, artificial intelligence and machine learning for customer engagement. , augmented reality and virtual reality, automated optical inspection, digital scanner, 3D imaging, holography, neural analysis, gloves and haptic screens, identification by radio frequency or RFID, blockchain, metaverse and NFTs.
The Colbert committee was created in 1954. It brings together 92 French luxury houses, 17 cultural institutions and 6 European luxury houses. It represents 14 trades: Crystal, Leather & Leather Goods, Design & Decoration, Publishing, Earthenware & Porcelain, Gastronomy, Haute Couture & Fashion, Jewelery & Watchmaking, Music, Goldsmithing, Palaces, Perfumes & Cosmetics, Heritage & Museums, Wines & Spirits. The Colbert committee wants to promote, sustainably develop, transmit French know-how and creation to inspire dreams and contribute to the international influence of luxury and the French art of living.