Ian Rogers, the executive in charge of Apple’s streaming radio service, surprised many Tuesday when he announced his move to luxury retail powerhouse LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.
But the shift is a prime example of the revolving door between Apple and luxury retail — perhaps best represented by the tech company’s retail chief, Angela Ahrendts, who arrived last year after a stint as CEO of luxury retailer Burberry Group.
Meanwhile, enticing peeks into Apple’s new “next generation” store designs have been revealed as it gains permits in Memphis. The store will have a light granite facade, glass to let in natural light, and an interior to accommodate more television and music displays.
Much has been made of the propinquity between Apple and luxury retail. Though the company’s products are expensive compared to its competitors and its new watch is in many ways especially geared to luxury shoppers (at least its more upscale versions), it’s really all about Steve Jobs’s design philosophy.
Jobs had enormous respect for craft and wanted intuitive usability for every corner or aspect of a product. That means that Apple products sport elements, like finish, feel, shape, placement, line — and more — that seem thought out to the last detail. It reflects an extreme level of care in design and attention to the consumer that is usually found only in luxury products.
Although most Apple products (except for those $10,000 gold Apple Watch special editions) are essentially mass market items, they have the look and feel of a luxury item — and the same luxury customers shopping for upscale goods are probably texting each other on iPhones.
On the other hand, Rogers’ jump to LVMH also shows that high-fashion brands are finally making serious e-commerce moves. The luxury industry in whole has been woefully behind in developing their e-commerce operations, but McKinsey & Co recently predicted that web sales could make up to 18% of luxury sales by 2025.