Good news for jewelry retailers: The definition of luxury is as wide-ranging as your clients themselves
Coco Chanel once said, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
The sentiment sounds obvious enough. Of course, truly luxurious products, experiences, and services should feel good—to the skin, the eye, and the soul. The dictionary definition of luxury, after all, is “the state of great comfort and extravagant living.”
But the idea of comfort as a necessary facet of luxury has largely been lost in the last few decades—replaced by a kind of frantic global consumption of logo-laden tokens of affluence such as designer handbags, watches, and cars.
But luxury—the word and the idea—is in a state of transition.
Classic “luxury” items remain popular with a certain segment of consumers, of course, but the market is softening for top-tier designer brands. LVMH, the largest luxury conglomerate in the world, for example, reported the slowest growth it’s seen since 2009 for the third quarter of 2015 (though revenue continued to climb). The economic slowdown in China was cited as a major reason for sagging sales by LVMH (and every other major luxury conglomerate). But more fundamental factors are also at play.
Market experts agree that the emerging luxury consumer is less interested in amassing status products than in test-driving special, singular experiences and cultivating a balanced lifestyle that includes plenty of time for family and friends. And when it comes to consuming upscale products, they’re measuring luxury more by Chanel’s yardstick than by any that have followed.
They’re asking, “Is there intrinsic value in this item?” “Am I comfortable with how and where this item was made?” “Does it feel good to the touch and the eye?” And “Does it feel like me?”