Today’s interview is with Michael J. Silverstein – author, and senior partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Michael as he has conducted some groundbreaking research covering some fascinating topics – the rise of luxury globally, the power and psyche of female consumers, and the emerging affluent in China and India.
Michael has a unique insight into luxury, meeting regularly with some of the biggest retail companies in the world, CEOs of luxury conglomerates, and regular consumers. He had some thought provoking insights to offer on a range of topics, a few which gave me considerable pause (you’ll see what I mean when you read about the V-curve of happiness). Enjoy meeting Michael!
In 2003 you wrote Trading Up, which covered the phenomenon of consumers “trading up” and purchasing luxury goods. Can you share how the world has changed since then?
I’ve written four books now. I wrote Trading Up in 2003, I wrote Treasure Hunt in 2006. Treasure Hunt was about trading down. And it forecast that consumers had had enough of wanton spending… that they were tightening budgets at that time, and that they were increasing their savings rate. Consumers in our survey work in 2006 were saying, things are pretty shaky out here. We’re not too happy about our world out here. And they said without a a shadow of a doubt that they were going to trade down. And that’s exactly what happened. This was of course was triggered by the financial industry and its consumers, but it was also triggered by ordinary consumers doing inapproriate things, like buying a bigger house they couldn’t afford. And there was a backlash. Continue Reading