Is elitism key to luxury’s success?

Isaac Mostovicz writes that for the luxury industry to persevere, it may need to return to its elitist roots....

At the LuxuryLab Innovation Forum at the Times Center in New York, marketer and consultant Cindy Gallop said “the single worst thing that happened to luxury was its democratization.”

In a story that ran in MarketingDaily, Gallop is quoted:

“Who will want to have a luxury brand if everyone else can have it too?” She argues that luxury brands, if they are to succeed, must be willing to be elitist in nature. They can’t dabble in the upper reaches of the mass market. “I think ‘new luxury’ is a return to true luxury,” she said. “It’s luxury for the very, very few. It will be shamelessly elitist.”

Gallop is that the future of luxe depends upon the return of the market to Lambda personalities. That, while they were helpful in the recession, the Thetas aren’t true luxury consumers.

Later in her speech, she makes delivers a damning assessment of the luxury industry’s e-commerce practices:

The single biggest defining aspect of luxury lifestyle, said Gallop, is “being able to do what you want, how you want, when you want and not giving a damn what people think.” Unfortunately, she said, luxury brands don’t get it — and often make it hard for customers to do that. “That’s what e-commerce is about. Luxury brands are bad at that,” she said.

Luxury’s latest foray into the internet is largely in the social media realm, which has been a bit haphazard as companies come to terms with the indirect nature of it. However some, such as Burberry, have begun to make the luxe social media rules for themselves. On Monday they launched

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