From Shopping Hauls to Experiences, Consumers Tap Overbuying Trend 

We’ve probably all observed the trend in minimalism. One component of the trend focuses on only acquiring essential items. While the minimalist aesthetic has gained significant attention on social media, its polar opposite has also gained traction, albeit in a more subtle manner. 

The trend, known as overconsumption, is fueled by what consumers observe when celebrities and prominent figures share their extensive wardrobes online, some of which may or may not have been gifts. 

This display of opulence has given rise to a growing trend of fashion hauls on social media platforms, enticing people to participate in the culture of overconsumption. However, it is essential to recognize that this culture can significantly impact consumers, especially during times of inflation and economic uncertainty. 

In comes the aspirational shopper — the consumer who engages in shopping, often for luxury or high-end products, with the primary motivation of aspiring to achieve a certain lifestyle, status or image associated with the items they purchase. 

Aspirational shoppers are driven by the desire to emulate or identify with a particular social or economic class, celebrity or trend. They seek to own products or brands that are typically associated with success, wealth or social recognition. 

Is Inflation Holding Aspirational Shoppers Back? 

According to LVMH, the condition of the aspirational shopper continues to face challenges. 

In the previous year, as reported by LVMH, middle-income consumers with disposable income embraced luxury handbags and perfumes, leading to increased profits for the company. However, the present year portrays a contrasting image, as elements such as inflation, economic instability and reduced savings have led a substantial portion of U.S. consumers to adopt a more prudent approach to their spending behaviors. 

“After three roaring years, and outstanding years, growth is converging toward numbers that are more in line with historical average,” Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s CFO. said on Tuesday (Oct 10.) during an earnings call.  

But according to LVMH, it’s all a part of the cycle.  

How Overconsumption Has Shifted  

In other reports, the aspirational shopper has shifted from overconsumption in goods to experiences.  

Per PYMNTS, the aspirational shopper, once a central focus for upscale brands, appears to be experiencing a period of uncertainty. While the conventional luxury market grapples with increased prices and evolving consumer spending patterns, an intriguing trend is emerging in the travel industry — a noticeable upswing. 

Elevated costs in multiple sectors have made the prospect of traditional luxury acquisitions increasingly intimidating for the aspirational shopper. Vital essentials are claiming a larger portion of their financial resources, leaving minimal space for discretionary expenses. Consequently, luxury brands may be starting to doubt the sustainability of their customary marketing approaches and the efficacy of aiming for this specific demographic. 

Interestingly, while the luxury market faces change, the travel industry is surging. Despite economic challenges and inflation, consumers increasingly prioritize experiences over possessions, echoing the aspirational shopper’s desire for a taste of luxury and consumption in a different context. 

Luxury travel experiences are now an enticing choice for aspirational shoppers, and brands are taking notice. 

In June, haircare brand Ouai capitalized on an opportunity for in-flight advertising collaboration with JetBlue, highlighting its St. Barts-scented body products.  

The ad aimed to invoke allure, sophistication and sensuality. Titled “Wanna Get A-Ouai,” it played as a pre-roll video before JetBlue’s safety demonstration, reaching 3 million viewers on 28,000 flights. 

Another example is Moët Hennessy, which initiated the first Hennessy shop-in-shop at Zhuhai Duty Free Gongbei Port in China to boost interest in the champagne and cognac category. 

Read also: Moët and Petco Tap Into Shop-In-Shops to Spark Champagne and Pet Essentials Demand 

Louis Vuitton also entered the airport lounge scene by launching its first branded lounge at Doha airport in collaboration with Qatar Airways and Michelin chef Yannick Alléno

Louis Vuitton aimed to redefine the lounge experience by adding sophistication, emotion and exclusivity. The lounge wasn’t just a waiting area; it offered a personalized brand encounter, complemented by a Michelin-starred chef and an array of amenities, expanding the brand’s presence in upscale hospitality. 

With all this in mind, PYMNTS reported that Americans increased their spending by 5.8% in August compared to the previous year, driven by a surge in “experience” spending. Delta Air Lines also announced record revenue, and Ticketmaster saw a nearly 18% increase in sales. 

At the same time, inflation and interest rates continue to stay elevated, and the savings reserves that many individuals amassed during the pandemic are steadily dwindling

Nonetheless, the report pointed out that a challenging housing market has caused consumers to abandon their plans for purchasing their initial homes as the pandemic highlighted the transitory nature of long-term plans, leading consumers to invest in “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences they fear they may not have the opportunity to enjoy in the future. 

Read more: Consumers Splurge on ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Expenses Despite Inflation