Technology’s impact on luxury: Expert panel debate in Dubai

As technology is developed in leaps and bounds, the luxury industry will need to prepare for some serious competition

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As technology is developed in leaps and bounds, the luxury industry will need to prepare for some serious competition. A panel of experts sat down at the Arab Luxury Word forum in Dubai to discuss the hot topic.

The event, set on wrap up on June 2, has seen more than 100 panelists tackle issues related to the luxury market in the Middle East.

Tuesday’s live streaming panel sees David Bowers, international strategy director for OMD London, Hanan Huwair, executive director for Dubai Design District, Jean Pierre Le Calvez, marketing manager for HP, Manal Khater, CEO of Atelier/Leo Burnett and Kolia Neveux, general manager for Tag Heuer, debate.

The panelists agreed that “there is a fine line” between the intrusion of consumers’ private lives and utility when it comes to wearable technology, as Khater claimed. Le Calvez added “we want butlers, not stalkers.”

The panelists spent a majority of the time discussing smart watches, such as the Apple watch, where Neveux said in regards to the development of luxury smart watches and Tag Heuer’s upcoming watch: “we are not competing [with Apple] because Apple is Apple, we are just offering an alternative.” He also added that “Apple will sell alone in a year what all of the Swiss luxury brands will sell together.”

Bowers noted that there has been a 30 to 40 per cent growth in mobile advertising compared to desktop, with Calvez adding that there are “more searches on Google through mobile devices than on desktop,” suggesting that this is where technology and the advertising of luxury goods is heading.

The Arab Luxury World event takes place from June 1-2 and brings together industry leaders from sectors such as watches and jewelry, fashion and accessories, perfumes and cosmetics, premium cars, tourism, art and culture.

The event comes on the back of Chalhoub group’s estimate that the consumer yearly spend on beauty, fashion and gifts per capita in the GCC is close to $30,000, ten times what is being spend in some European countries, making a discussion on the future of the luxury market in the region crucial according to organizers.

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