Opportunities and Challenges for Luxury in the age of Coronavirus

Philippe Lucas

Luxury Contributor 

The COVID-19 epidemic continues to expand with over 2.5 million cases in over 200 countries and over 180,000 deaths at the time of writing. Alongside the unprecedented human cost, the onslaught of the coronavirus globally is changing the way we work. With most national, state and city governments putting self-isolation guidelines in place, remote work is the order of the day with video conferencing service providers like Zoom seeing exponential growth.  

Unfortunately, the coronavirus also dictates whether some work at all: notably grounding whole industries such as retail, transportation, travel and food and beverage. Oil prices have plunged into the negative, and roles reversed with buyers being paid by sellers for the overstock.

The challenges facing luxury, design and technology industries are well-documented – Cannes Film Festival, Venice Architectural Biennale and Milan’s Salone Del Mobile are all canceled. Alongside traditional ports, shipyards housing superyachts are feeling the pinch. However, with such challenges come opportunities and different actors across these industries are adjusting and even thriving under the new and, hopefully, temporary normal.  We expect the luxury and technology landscape to evolve as a better understanding of the effects of the coronavirus are discovered.

High-End Sporting Events and Sponsors Face a Tough Year

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus has also upended the sporting calendar, with professional leagues everywhere suspending their activities, including the NBA, European football leagues and Formula 1. Summer sporting events like Wimbledon and the Monaco Grand Prix hope they can recoup their losses through insurance policies.

Luxury sponsors of these events stand to lose in sales terms with a global economic slowdown anticipated. This is only made worse when the star athletes, on whom they depend, can expect a pay cut of up to 70% in some cases.

The heads of the world’s largest polo organizations met in March to make the toughest decision of the season; polo events across the world would be, first, played without fans in attendance and, later, entire seasons and series were simply canceled. Editor-in-Chief of Polo Lifestyles Josh Jakobitz said of the developments, “This is like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes, but these tough calls were without a doubt the right decision to protect everyone involved: players, grooms, coaches, patrons, organizers and fans”. The May 2020 issue of Polo Lifestyles is the first issue since the publication’s inception in 2017 that no current polo match coverage and review are included within the pages. 

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