24 Jan 2018

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24 Jan 2018

Top Languages in the Luxury sector. Written by Laura Antolin

Which languages are in higher demand for Retail and Luxury? What are the big brands looking for?

As a new year begins, there are dozens of new resolutions people compromise to achieve, such as learning a new language, but the truth is only a few stick to them. Lack of motivation or time is the main reason behind it.

However, it is worth investing time in learning a new language, especially if you want to improve your professional situation, since languages will open many doors for you. In Luxe Talent, we know this too well. We manage different positions with different requirements every day. Thus, we know that languages are a key factor for success. And while English once was enough to excel, nowadays, many companies in the Retail, Fashion and Luxury sector expect more.

CHINESE, RUSSIAN AND ARABIC: NEW LANGUAGES FOR NEW CONSUMERS

Retail, Fashion and Luxury brands are increasingly asking for professionals with a good set of languages, such as Chinese, Russian and even Arabic.

China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates have positioned themselves as emerging luxury markets. According to the report of Global Powers of Luxury Goods, made by Deloitte70% of consumers from these countries claim to have increased their spending in the last five years, compared to 53% in the more mature markets, such as Europe, the United States and Japan.

The Chinese tourist as a potential Luxury consumer

The Luxury industry has focused on the Chinese market in recent years, and that for a good reason. China has been growing in Luxury spending for several years now, contributing to 30% of global luxury purchases in 2016.

Despite the growth of domestic luxury consumption, Chinese consumers still choose to buy luxury overseas. In fact, shopping is cited as their primary reason to choose their travel destination. Besides that, Chinese consumers often prefer shopping in a country associated with the product itself, such as buying Dior in Paris or Dolce & Gabbana in Milan. This argument is reinforced by their preference to buy high-quality, authentic goods, which can sometimes be hard within China due to the high rate of counterfeits.

However, the main reason for buying abroad is the huge price gap between luxury products in China and those purchased abroad. Luxury goods are extremely expensive in mainland China due to high import duties, taxes, rental and labour costs, just to name a few. In fact, price differences can range from 11 to 40%. A comprehensible reason why Chinese consumers see travelling abroad as an excellent opportunity to buy luxury items at a more reasonable price. 

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Personalized customer service to attract Russian consumers

The Russian economy has been in recession and sales of luxury goods went through a negative impact due to the lower purchasing power of the middle classes. However, this is now changing: the local currency shows signs of stability and moderate growth is expected in the market.

At the same time, the Russian consumer is characterized by his impulsive spending on exclusive products, as a sign of wealth and status. This situation represents a unique opportunity for luxury brands from all over the world, and they are bound to design a strategy to attract Russian consumers, prioritizing customer service. Most Russians have a low English level (12% according to Education First), so customer relations should be made in Russian. This helps to have a better interaction with the client and to offer a high-quality and personalized service.

Luxury in the Middle East: a market on the rise

The market in the Middle East is also a big shot for luxury brands, as luxury shopping centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have promoted these cities as desirable shopping destinations. However, the market suffered a significant slowdown in 2016, caused by low oil prices, the increase in gold prices and the cost of living. This made local residents consider it more attractive to buy luxury items while travelling abroad in Europe.

Given this perspective, it seems normal that the demand for the Chinese, Russian and Arabic languages increased in the international Luxury scene. Luxury brands are aware of the deep potential of these new consumers, and that is why they are requesting these languages more and more often. The most obvious example is the role of Sales Assistant, a professional who deals directly with clients and is therefore valued for his communication and language skills. We must not forget that in the Luxury sector, customer service is very important, and it’s one of the main factors making a difference between brands.

CHINESE, RUSSIAN AND ARABIC: NEW LANGUAGES FOR NEW CONSUMERS

Although in Retail, Fashion and Luxury we have already begun to glimpse a new range of languages, English remains the undisputed leader as a foreign language.

Most Luxury brands are international and have their headquarters abroad, so having a good command of English is essential for daily communications and reporting. Therefore, it is important for corporate positions, as well as Store Managers and Visual Merchandisers, to have a good level of English in order to maintain a fluent line of communication with the HQ.

THE UPCOMING LANGUAGES: SOME PREDICTIONS

It seems possible to state that the demand for the Chinese, Arabic and Russian languages will continue to increase, as a result of the ongoing growth of these Luxury markets and the greater purchasing power of the consumers from these countries.

In Luxe Talent, we, as experts in the market, find great opportunities to learn an East-Asian language especially Chinese, but we also suggest improving your English skills and never forget about classic “Luxury Languages” like French or Italian.

NOTE: The use of “Chinese” as a language in the text is referred to as Mandarin, as it is the most common language in China, but not the only Chinese language.

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