HSBC, the investment bank that is a global leader in helping bad people get money, is making a foray into the slightly less lucrative business of making up nicknames. Today, the bank’s retail whizzes have coined a new acronym, YUM, which stands for “young, urban male,” and which headlines the bank’s most recent research report: “Rise of the Yummy.”
According to HSBC, Yummies – dear God, it hurts to type – are reshaping the retail landscape for luxury goods, thanks to their vanity and penchant for trend-chasing.
In a copy of the report we obtained, the bank issues buy recommendations for fashion brands like Burberry, Richemont, Luxottica, Hugo Boss, and Prada, explaining that the recent trend in status-conscious young men purchasing luxury goods for themselves has made the companies more attractive:
Although it may sound quite counter-intuitive, luxury goods consumers are in fact relatively young. And they are getting younger. This is driven by psychological and social trends whereby consumers prefer to display social status earlier on (while older, better-off consumers may have less to prove and will tend to buy for themselves rather than to impress others). In addition, with increasing wealth creation and affordability of travel, as well as online blogs and forums, information on brands is more readily accessible to target audiences than ever before.
According to the bank’s researchers, metrosexuals in Asia (in particular, a category of Japanese men called “herbivores”) are especially attuned to the luxury sector:
“Metro-sexual” was a term coined exactly twenty years ago to describe men who are interested in their appearance, and spend much time, effort and money on shopping. In the beginning, though, this did not translate into strong growth in purchases of luxury goods by men as “metro-sexuals” were not mainstream.
This has clearly now changed. Whether it is cosmetics, outdoor sports, fashion or accessories, male purchases have really started to impact overall growth rates. As is often the case with consumer trends, we saw the initial impulse in Japan, with Korea following close behind. In Japan, an offshoot of the “metro-sexual” man is the “herbivore” man, defined in the late noughties by their lack of interest in relationships and their obsession with personal grooming and health …
In the interviews we conducted we heard various explanations, including that men already had cars and so were now moving on to other luxury categories; that they were marrying at a later age and could therefore invest on themselves instead of having to support a family; and that soap operas had started to make “metro-sexual” attitudes more acceptable socially.
So, basically, if you’re a male under 30 and you take style tips from Days of Our Lives, congratulations! You might be a Yummy. Otherwise, you’re probably #normcore, and the luxury retail industry has nothing but contempt for you.