Have you ever heard about Vegan Luxury? And do you think it is an emerging trend? Recently, I and two other teammates have conducted a qualitative research under the scope of the course Marketing Research Methodology at IÉSEG School of Management on this topic. The research was done in small scale with 11 indepth interviews; yet we have obtained quite a few significant insights on (1) Consumer’s perception of and opinion about vegan luxury and the current alternatives to leather for luxury products; and (2) If vegan luxury is more suitable for some luxury brands or for some luxury consumers. We, therefore, would like to share some interesting discoveries from our research. To continue with Part 1, this post is dedicated to share findings on point number 2.
Consumers do not attach Vegan Luxury to brands in a specific sector
Throughout all eleven interviews, there are different business fields of the brands respondents first associate with when think of Vegan Luxury. Though the majority of answers are related to Fashion, respondents also mentioned Cosmetics, Jewels and Food. This tells us that there is room for brands in various fields to join in the Vegan Luxury segment.
Consumers believe that vegan luxury brands are those who aim for eco-friendly and sustainable production which does not cause harm to either the animals or to the environment
Ecology and animal protection are the two common patterns seen throughout the data. Consumers are convinced that a vegan luxury brand offers products that are results of a highly-sustainable, ecological-friendly production lines, and that the process of making the products while reduces carbon footprint, does not harm animals in any way. This tells us what consumers expect from a vegan luxury brand.
We draw out our understanding on a typical vegan luxury consumer’s motivation and his/her profile by respondents’ opinions on the reasons for which a consumer buys vegan luxury products, and on their description of a third person who they imagine to be a vegan luxury consumer.
Vegan luxury consumers are motivated by humane and ethical reasons as well as by animal and environment protection cause
On the one hand, there is a commonality among respondents: they believe people buy vegan luxury because they follow this vegan lifestyle; they believe that not harming the animals and less affecting the environment is a humane and ethical cause. On the other hand, there is also other opinions as to why a consumer buy vegan luxury: because the said consumer is looking for something more special to elevate their status, beyond what the regular luxury category offers. The insight, thus, is that consumers would demand for vegan luxury to satisfy their self-esteem needs.
Vegan lux consumers are aware, intellectual, cultured, eccentric, successful and well-off. Millennials do not describe themselves when asked to tell the portrait of a vegan luxury consumer
The commonality in responses showed us the profile of a vegan lux consumer who are a cultured, intellectual middle-aged, which respondents associate with successful, high social status, and well-off. He/ She is aware of and conscious about the environment, ecology and animal protection. He/ She also has an eccentric, bohemian style. We know this is what the millennials respondents answered, but this is not a portrait of themselves, though they are obviously aware of and receptive to vegan luxury products. We, as a result, believe that vegan luxury is for certain types of consumers, as the demand is there. However, it is in brands’ hands to effectively communicate to consumers to capture this segment, which leads us to the coming section.
Consumers are open to buy a vegan luxury product if it’s from their favorite brands
The majority of respondents tend to be open to try Vegan Luxury product as long as it comes from their favorite brands. Among them, women have that greater tendency than men do. This trend stems from their trust to their brand’s reputation with high quality, beautifully designed, full-function products which have been proved and have convinced them to purchase for long time.
Interestingly for vegetarian, there’s a effect where an addition of vegan product to the portfolio of their previously preferred non-vegan brand can even bring them back to that brand: “Even if Coach launch a line of sustainable hand bag, I will come back to buy it.”
On the other hand, few minor interviewees hesitate to try because of their strong belief in high quality of real leather and their concerns about quality that need feedback from other consumers to confirm before making decision.
Communication on Vegan Luxury
When seeing the advertisement of Stella McCartney, none of respondents has negative feelings: overall they like it thanks to its simplicity and comfortability while some are neutral. But almost all are not really attracted by the advert, just some pay attention to the colour contrast and the big-size bag.
When being told that the advert is for a vegan product of Stella McCartney, almost all interviewees were surprised because they had not realised it when seeing the advert, except for one respondent who is vegetarian and already knows Stella McCartney brand. The surprise of the majority of interviewees were claimed for the fact that there’s no signal or content mentioning vegan product or no animal harm in the advert. Those also the reasons making most of them think that this advert is not effective to communicate about vegan luxury product.
In addition, in terms of colors associated with Vegan Luxury, Green is most frequent answer. Respondents’ explanation to their choice includes: green “is related to botanical, eco, bio, respect environment”, “life, living creatures” and “nature”. White colour is the second most frequently associated with this concept because this color, according to them, stands for “neutral, earthy space, purity”, “peace, non toxic”. Some also mentioned other colors like Black, Gold, Crème and Beige, which according to them are colors of the nature. On the other hand, according to a research of Bernice Kanner on the personality-like associations of 10 colors with individuals in 8 countries (*), those above-mentioned colors are linked to the following personalities, which is a good reference for Vegan Luxury brands to build brand personalities.
– Green: Secure, natural, relaxed or easygoing, living things
– White: Goodness, purity, chastity, cleanliness, delicacy, refinement, formality
– Black: Sophistication, power, authority, mystery
– Brown: Informal and relaxed, masculine, nature
– Silver, Gold, Platinum: Regal, wealthy, stately
Above are some interesting findings that we would like to share. Hopefully, we gonna receive further sharing from your lens to have more various views on this topic. Thanks!
(*) Source: Bernice Kanner, ‘Colour Schemes’, New York Magazine, 1989, 3 April, 22-3. Copyright 1996, New York Magazine, Distributed by Los Angeles Times.