Luxury or the new Self-enriching Journey

EHL Students - Bachelor | 29 Aug, 2016

“Habit converts luxurious enjoyment into dull and daily necessities” – Aldous Huxley

Emerging economies, low cost airlines, collaboration of high street brands with luxury houses… Has the most coveted lifestyle become an accessible necessity?

The democratization of luxury had a direct impact on the perception and attitudes adopted by consumers towards this appealing industry. Wearing a designer’s bag or a logo-heavy watch isn’t as inaccessible as it used to be in the 90s, making luxury goods less appealing.

After the recession of 2008, the luxury industry witnessed an exponential growth. While many brands chose to target a broader segment of customers or to diversify their portfolio, some brands revived the essence of luxury.

Providing unique experiences has been the latest trend of the luxury market. If five stars hotels, luxurious resorts and sumptuous palaces detain the savoir-faire in this field, many brands decided to create partnerships with leading hotels and elitist travel agencies to stamp their brand with an exclusive cachet and awakening experience.

Furthermore, in order to exceed the expectations of luxury connoisseurs, brands adopted particular combinations such as the alliance of haute couture and hotels, refined wines and gowns, all-terrain vehicles and exclusive travel agencies. These unexpected alliances allow customers to share their privileged instants with their friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Now luxury is about trying new experiences, swiftly erasing the cult of possession, it isn’t about owning a particular object anymore but possessing an intangible wealth impossible to fake nor copy.

“Affluent consumers are active and vocal. Never passive. They’re in the know, they’re insiders, they love to be engaged and share their favorite fashions, autos and destinations. It’s all about social, and sharing their favorite things with their friends. As a luxury brand, you need to engage your affluent consumers. Invite them in, inspire them – and in-turn, convert them into brand-advocates” highlighted Christopher Parr, Founder & Editor of Pursuitist

However, luxury brands face new challenges to keep their positioning and perpetuate their legacy. If social media is a major tool used by elitist consumers to share their journey, it forces luxury companies to give up a significant portion of the control they used to enjoy on their own brands. Moreover, the viral exposure of sought-after experiences can make them de-facto less exclusive. Luxury brands will need to boost their innovations, constantly update their offers and relentlessly focus on online customer relationships if they want to re-invent exclusivity in this new online world.

Author: Lina Zouhair - EHL Bachelor Student

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