IADS Exclusive: Culture and department stores: a match made in heaven?

IADS Exclusive September 2023 Christine Montard

Back in March 2021, Dr Christopher Knee shared his views on cultural goods, specifically books, in an IADS Exclusive. Two years later, the cultural goods footprint in retail is growing in renewed ways, justifying a new look at the topic. 

Several reasons are underlying the cultural goods trend. On one hand, the cultural goods business at large is growing as explained by Bain & Company and Altagamma in their 2021 luxury report: with the reopening of art fairs, the art market recorded a post-Covid renewed interest in art with an increasing participation of new and younger consumers buying in the mid-priced segment. Besides investment and speculation purposes, this phenomenon is also sustained by the new pivotal role of home and the intertwining of living and working. On another hand, many luxury brands are morphing from high-quality product manufacturers to cultural actors, offering consumers ‘on steroids’ value proposition and raising the bar for other retailers. 

This expanded value proposition is an additional way to answer new consumers’ expectations for more experiences beyond the traditional retail transactional relationship. From that perspective, increasing the retail’s cultural component and the cultural goods offerings represent an additional opportunity to drive traffic in stores and possibly generate additional turnover. 

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