What Bill Gates wants for Christmas

The new lifestyles of the rich and famous leave luxury brands in the lurch

The glitzy shopping mall might have been the Mecca of money in the nineties, but no more. The higher level need for amazing experiences is replacing the accumulation of bling and BMWs – for those with deep pockets at least.

There’s a huge disparity when it comes to what consumers want. Millionaires and billionaires in America and Asia are no longer interested in Louis Vuitton luggage and Jaguar convertibles. Instead, the wealthy are forking out thousands for experiences they deem valuable, enlightening and authentic.

Exclusive spiritual retreat with Deepak Chopra, anyone? Or how about a trip to see the last rhino on earth? At the same time, however, the emerging middle classes in South America and Africa are consuming everything from electronics to cars; and 3D printing whatever they can at alarming rates.

It’s never been as tough for brands. The majority of companies have made a living selling stuff – and lots of it. Now it’s only the newly rich who are satisfied with anything in a box.

It’s a whole different story for the top 1%, who have embraced asset lightness and essentialism. They want to de-clutter their lives. These men and women are willing to part with their money for unique experiences that will make them feel alive.

It’s no longer a matter of trying to predict the next product revolution; now you have to make and sell memories, feelings and all things ethereal and intangible. As for Bill Gates – there’s nothing underneath his Christmas tree this year as he is walking on the moon!

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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