Market turbulence in recent months doesn’t appear to have left any sector unscathed, not even the luxury segment, which seemed immune to the circumstances. We spoke about the situation to Andrea Illy, Chairman of Illy Caffè and Fondazione Altagamma, an association bringing together companies and Italian brands par excellence.
Chairman, in your opinion, what are the prospects for the Italian luxury industry?
The situation is good and prospects are positive. Indeed, the figures confirm the upwards trend of the market: the latest studies value total luxury market share at over 1,000 billion euros, with an average growth of 5% across all sectors. Nowadays there are 400 million top end consumers in the world that we expect to increase to 480 million by 2022.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Italy: our brands account for about 10% of total luxury sales with peaks of 24% in fashion and accessories, 40% in design and 24% in food. We must fight for our reputational heritage.
What, therefore, are the challenges and how does Fondazione Altagamma help tackle them?
The challenge is to maintain and implement assets such as to grow our market share. Altagamma works in in a range of areas. In terms of Business Development, each year we provide our associates with eight current studies on the market and consumers, and we focus on building institutional relations with the primary aim, in Italy, of consolidating partnerships between public and private entities. In Europe, with the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance, we have created a body representing with one voice the requests of a sector that is vital for the economy and society. To reinforce the structural foundations of our companies, we have increased activities in the area of Company Culture, with projects aimed at all levels of staff. For entrepreneurs we organise Strategic Planning events. With the objective of training managers, for years we have collaborated with SDA Bocconi to create international post-graduate Masters. And then there’s the key topic of our know-how in manual professions for which we are working to create a Polytechnic of Italian Know How in the area used for Expo 2015.
Finally, we promote Italian excellence. Run in collaboration with private and public entities, including the Ministries of Economic Development and Cultural Heritage, the Panorama project has been a great success. A 360 degree video installation telling the story of Italy’s beauty in terms of three elements – Nature-Culture-Manufacture – will travel the world, starting this year in New York.
What does excellence mean for Andrea Illy?
I think excellence is summed up in this formula: “Beautiful, Good and Well Made”. Three attributes that correspond to our main qualities: a marked sensitivity for aesthetics, sustainability and the ability to make impeccable products with unrivalled expertise.