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.i was chatting to a client at the beginning of the year, just as the recession was beginning to bite, and he mentioned that Gucci had sent non-branded carrier bags to all its stores in new york. irealised that most of us have a rather uni-faceted and short-term viuw of the economic crisis.

what we focus on is that people are not able to afford things as they did during the boom times. butthere is another more long-term dimension, people may no longer want to buy certain things, ever if they have the money to do so. being rich and flaunting your wealth could just go out of fashion, inmuch the same way that fur coats became vulgar and attracted public outrage in the 1980s.

Is it going to become vulgar once more to talk about money and show your wealth? if so, the effect onluxury brands is going to be pretty significant. the nineties saw an unashamed global trend towards flash materialism. but recently there has been a shift. women are stashing their LV handbags at the backof their cupboards, the diamond encrusted gent's Rolex is being put into the safe for another day.

as we wean ourselves off these luxury brands, our addiction to them is slowly ebbing away. i can'tafford the BMW but no matter. i now have an emotional preference not to buy one. of course, luxury goods will always have a market, but the global trend of bling is slowly dying.

so what is thebest way for a brand, luxury or not, to react?

a recent study by Euro RSCG in new yorh uncovered the fact that consumers are afraid. this anxiety factor has caused people to go back to basics, tolean towards traditional values. the research also proved that the financial crisis has not generated a mass search fort the cheapest item, there is an increasing conviction that low prices cangenerate scepticism, a sense the un-sellable rubbish is being fobbed off on bargains-hunting consumers. the study also found that nearly 60 percent of consumers will buy only from a company they trust....