Are Technology Firms Turning to Established Brands for Luxury Expertise?


Technology has had a huge effect on the luxury market, creating abundance in things that were previously scarce. This has led to a slow adoption in digital marketing practices – as luxury brands are still yet to really nail their digital output. However, the flip-side of this digital abundance lies with technology brands lacking experience in selling more premium products. Selling a state-of-the-art smartphone is certainly easier than selling a £13,500 luxury smartwatch – and technology companies need help.

Earlier this month, Tesla – producers of luxury electric vehicles, hired a former Burberry executive to help bolster its position in the luxury market. This follows on from a string of large tech companies hiring in senior luxury talent – with Angela Ahrendts move from Burberry to Apple last year being the most prominent. These high-profile hires are highlighting the rise in the luxury technology sector. 

But Apple and Tesla aren’t the only technology companies making huge waves in the luxury & lifestyle scenes. Luxury smartphone crafter, Vertu has been at the forefront of high-end technology products since being sold to private equity group EQT VI in 2012. Although with similar hardware to that of most modern smartphones, Vertu have created devices that are true high-end fashion accessories and have turned the traditional smartphone offering on its head.

This shift in thinking has started to lead to the advent of wearable technology – creating the first true crossover between technology products and high-end fashion. Apple are already pushing into the luxury market with their premium Apple Edition offering, but which abundant technology company will be next to break into the luxury scene?

By hiring in top talent from the world of high-end fashion, tech companies are bound to start competing against more traditional brands. If luxury brands aren’t quick enough to react, there may be a risk of losing out to these upstart contenders. For now, traditional luxury brands are holding on to their heritage and prestige; but if more top talent is poached to help position technology in the high-end market, luxury brands may have to rethink how they are approaching new tech.

by Joe Davine

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