Fifth edition of arab luxury world draws to a successful close

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The fifth edition of arab luxury world, the Middle East’s leading conference on the business of luxury, has drawn to a successful close. This year, regional and global experts from the world of luxury converged at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, to discuss ‘The New Consumer, Consumption, and Change.’

The two-day conference – organised by leading media and events company Mediaquest – ran from May 8 to 9, and attracted more than 500-plus attendees, 80 speakers and featured more than 30 separate activities, including breakout sessions discussing the most pressing issues facing the luxury industry today.

Changing landscape

Speaking during the event, Julien Hawari, Co-CEO of Mediaquest, said: “Today, the region’s luxury landscape is changing. Change that was anticipated in the past is now visible and this transformation is happening at an unprecedented rate.”

“Saudi Arabia is transforming and positioning the Kingdom as a premier business destination. Technology is advancing, consumer behavior too is changing, with Millennials today the target for the luxury market. It’s this tectonic shift that’s impacting the mindset of consumers and their expectations from luxury brands. arab luxury world is a unique platform in that it allows for essential discussions to take place that help to shape the region’s luxury landscape.”

Markus Leithe, Managing Director, INFINITI Middle East, said: “Forums such as arab luxury world are significant to strike debate between key industry leaders across all sectors. Technology is the way forward across the globe and is rapidly being introduced into the region. With this, we can confidently say that INFINITI products are designed around human experience. Technology is a key enabler for this – from product to service to the driving experience.”

High-profile speakers

This year’s keynote speakers were Alison Loehnis, President of NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER, the world’s leading fashion e-commerce destinations, Julien Tornare, CEO of watchmaker Zenith and Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman and CEO of Soneva. Loehnis presented her views and insights on the Middle East customer and shared plans for the market’s future development. Tornare, meanwhile, shared his thoughts on the “Expectations of new Consumers” and what brands with heritage need to do to adapt to the new consumer. “It was a real pleasure to attend the arab luxury world event, an amazing networking platform, where I met fantastic and inspiring people and could share on the actual trends of the luxury industry,” he added.

Following its successful introduction last year, the arab luxury world Global Student Competition, sponsored by Bulgari, made a triumphant return, bringing together regional and global graduate students from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA to share their views on the future of luxury, design and fashion businesses. The competition, once again, attracted a high level of entries, with the winning entry going to Saudi Rabeh Zidan ElSayed, hailing from the International University of Monaco.

This year’s inaugural Global Startup Bootcamp, partnered by INSEAD Middle East Campus and Digital@INSEAD saw more than 20 start-up companies from New York, Paris, London and Hong Kong. This one-of-its-kind event in the region provided a sustainable business development platform for start-up founders, VC firms and corporate conglomerates in luxury, retail, fashion, art and lifestyle, and technology sectors. The event was sponsored by Chalhoub Group and TAG Heuer.

The grand winner was Goxip from Honk Kong, the fashion Google and the Shoppable Instagram in Asia. The four lauriates were Kronos Care from Paris (Delivery tracking for a seamless post-purchase experience), Sampler from London (Product sampling solutions), Dropel from New York (Cutting edge fabric innovation) and Stockly from Paris (reducing stock-outs, increasing sales and retention).

“The ideas presented by these startups were truly exceptional and point toward a bright future for the luxury sector; one where technology is at the core,” says Hawari.

Networking opportunity

arab luxury world was attended by industry leaders, luxury brands, distributors, agents, retailers, mall operators, service providers and media representatives – all of whom lent greater depth to the sessions. Set against a backdrop of shifting consumer behavior and mounting economic pressure, each activity served to equip attendees with the insights they need to face challenges head on and secure ongoing business in the sector.

The event has grown into a global networking platform that is generously supported by key movers in the industry, including Laha, Jamalouki and OMD as the Gold Sponsors; IPSOS and Robinsons as the Bronze Sponsors; INFINITI as the Official Car Sponsor; Hills Advertising as the Outdoor Partner and Haya and The New York Times as Media Partners.