Global auction house Goffs discuss unlocking the door to ultra-luxury

Renowned racehorse auctioneer Goffs convened in Mayfair to explore the transformative shifts in the ever expanding luxury market

Goffs London Sale breakfastGoffs, the world-renowned thoroughbred auction house that sells elite racehorses, hosted an exclusive conference at 34 Mayfair on Wednesday 10 April to explore the transformative changes in the ultraluxury market and how to harness them. 

Moderated by racing broadcaster Francesca Cumani, Goffs and its partners — Privat 3 Money, Ascot Racecourse (which recently appointed a new creative director), International Yacht Company, Château Léoube and Ampito Group — convened to discuss how heritage brands and businesses will need to change or shift the way their operate in order to appeal to their ultra-high net worth (UHNW) clients as many of them now belong to a younger demographic.

“As businesses, we all focus on the luxury market and by discussing like-minded brands, shifts, trends and influences that we have all experienced in our varied industries, we can delve into our clientele who are both elusive and unique among consumers,” said Henry Beeby, Goffs’ group chief executive.Goffs London Sale Breakast - 34 MayfairHe acknowledged that while business at Goffs is flourishing, it is not without its challenges — namely shifts in consumer behaviour.

“We have seen significant changes in demographics, client expectations, customer experience and other key areas and are keen to continue to balance our proud heritage and strong traditions whilst focusing on the future,” he said.

Forbes’ most recent billionaires list featured more new billionaires from the millennial demographic than ever before and, according to Privat3 Money Ltd founder Reda Bedjaoui, this tech-savvy generation of HNWs may be making a move away from private banks and towards digital-first financial institutions.Goffs“We find our clients want and, increasingly, expect nearly instantaneous transactions, which means we have to be technologically oriented,” said Reda. “Millennials like the idea of moving and receiving money without any interaction and they don’t have time to travel to banks in Singapore, Geneva or Dubai to open an account.”

Traditionally, cyber security was only a point of focus for businesses but today more high net worth clients are taking an interest in the threats they face in the modern world — such as hacking, phishing and blackmail says Ampito Group founder Manny Pinon. The need for privacy and exclusivity also extends to their holidays, as more UHNW millennials are forgoing the usual hotspots in search of something private and unique.RACING AHEAD

A key element to Goffs’ success — and one that seems to still bridge the gaps of changing behaviours in the ultra-luxury space — is the auction house’s strong ties to the racing calendar. While the world’s most famous international racing meets themselves are sporting and social events at which to be seen, there are also the behind the scenes moments that seasoned buyers and high society alike enjoy. 

Each year, on the eve of Royal Ascot, Goffs London Sale is one of the season’s most prestigious — and exciting — race horse auctions. “Only at our London sale can you buy a horse and become a participant in elite sport the very next day at Royal Ascot. And unlike other sports, anyone can become a participant, meaning ownership is open to all,” explains Henry.It is this open door policy that, despite the call of exclusivity from the Royal Enclosure, Henry says makes racing more inclusive than any other luxury sport. He says he has seen the sport embraced not only by seasoned fans, but by corporate hospitality, celebratory events and as a fun family day out.

“Heritage is of utmost importance to us, and we need to balance tradition with a focus on the future,” says Felicity Barnard, commercial director at Ascot Racecourse. “In order to attract a younger demographic, we are looking at making racing more accessible and offer something for everyone.

“Racing is at the heart of everything we do, and to stay relevant, we need to continue to be viewed as a lifestyle brand. Post-pandemic, millennials want tangible experiences and to treat themselves. And a ticket to Ascot is an experience like no other,” she adds.

The 2014 Goff London Sale, sponsored by Privat3 Money, will take place on 17 June at Kensington Palace Gardens.

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