The objective of this conference is to bring a better understanding of the transformation of the luxury industry into a global business since the 1970s. This industry experienced in the last four decades a major mutation which the three main trends can be stressed as follows: first, the shift from independent small businesses (mostly family firms working in a half-artisanal environment) to multinational enterprises (MNEs, such as LVMH, PPR, Richemont, Swatch Group), through M&A strategies and the building of global value chains; second, the globalization of brands, supported by new distribution channels (flagship stores), renewed identities and market segmentation within each MNE’s brand portfolio; and thirdly, democratization of consumption, with the launch of accessory lines and the rise of so-called “accessible luxury” brands.
Within this broad context, this conference will tackle topics and cases from various industries, countries and disciplines (business history, marketing, applied economics, etc.). In particular, the following issues are welcomed.
- Globalization vs. re-localization of production in Europe: what is the role of global value chains in production in low-cost countries? How the contradiction between the European identity of luxury and the globalization of production was overcame? How were the protectionist labels (Made in France, Made in Italy, Made in Switzerland, etc.) introduced and how do they work?
- Evolution of markets: which is the role of East Asian countries (Japan in the 1970s-1990s, China since 2000) in the emergence of this global industry? How did European luxury goods makers adapt to these emerging markets?
- Marketing strategy and brand management: location or globalization?
- Distribution strategy (licensing, export, global value chain): how and why did MNEs in the luxury industry did build new distribution channels? How did they adapt their global strategy to particular markets? What was the reaction of traditional commercial partners such as department stores?
- Education of customers: how was it possible to democratize and globalize brands? Why and how the global luxury industry was mainly created as a “European” industry? Why Asian makers were largely unable to launch luxury brands?
Proposals should be sent by 28 February 2014 to the following three addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send a summary (maximum 1 A4 page) of the proposed contribution, as well as a brief CV. The participants selected will be informed by the end of March 2014.
Papers, which should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words, should be sent by mid-September 2014.
The organizers are working in order to secure financial support to cover travel and stay expenses of the contributors.
The conference language is English. This conference is part of a larger international research project on the global business history of luxury goods. We intend to have another meeting in Asia in 2015. A selection of the contributions given at these conferences will be published as an edited book in 2015.