interpretation

Luxury for everyone…

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

The growth of masstige products is a well attested phenomenon–bringing luxury goods within reach of the hoi poloi. Porsche boxter, mercedes c class, jaguar x-type… the list is endless.

Edwin Collyer makes a really good summary of the phenomenon, over at brandchannel quoting a variety of experts….

Robin Koval says:
bq. There always has to be some sense of scarcity and being out of reach. Yes, you can buy a Mercedes for $30,000 or so, but the really cool one that you dream about is there next to it on the floor for $100,000…. It depends how well you can tier your offerings and reserve a special place for the true luxury consumer.

This is a typical problem with all masstige conversations. They tend to focus obsessively on the price of an item at the lever of luxuriousness, when price is just one facet of their exclusivity (you can add scarcity, sparse distribution, sourcing difficulty to this list). Exclusivity itself is just a tiny facet of luxury, and is primarily appealing to challenge-seekers, who find self-esteem in achieving their goals.

This sort of price-centred analysis fails on two levels. At a basic level it fails to acknowledge the alternative unity-seeking motivation of luxury, but also, at a much deeper level, it fails to recognise that ALL luxury is personal and relative. The masstige conversation falls headlong into the trap of seller-centric thinking, believing that producers can be manufactured.

Koval does clarify his point later in the article, when he says:
“Luxury is now more about emotion than price points. I think it will be more about mindset than wallet size or class. There will always be people for whom certain indulgences provide great meaning—whether for their badge value or intrinsic reward. And there will always be the millionaire bargain hunter as well. It’s all a matter of where your own definition of pleasure comes from.”

As Collyer says, Luxury can be a cream cake instead of a sponge.

Luxury can be a single chocolate with your evening coffee…

But the same chocolate can be emergency rations in the jungle…

The critical point is the brand owner does not determine luxury, the luxury is determined through the personal moments of intention, choice and consumption and remembrance…

Luxury starts well before the purchase, and ends only when memory fails.

The paradox here is that luxury is both utterly universal and entirely individual.

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