18 January 2016

Has luxury gone too mass?

The Issue

Has Luxury Gone Too Mass?

Luxury brands have long been mass consumer brands. After all, real exclusivity — selling highly select items to a limited audience — offers limited opportunity for scale and business growth. Indeed, the world’s most elite luxury houses, like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel, have driven strong financial results by creating iconic products as high price points, which, paired with elaborate marketing campaigns, emit a halo of perceived exclusivity around lower priced products, made to sell in high volumes to aspirational consumers. Getting the balance right can be a delicate act, involving art as well as science.

But in recent cycles, adapting to shifts in mass media, globalisation and a turbulent post-recessionary economy, many luxury brands have become more accessible than ever, embracing social media, fast-fashion collaborations, public exhibitions, stores in airports and casinos and off-price outlets offering last season’s luxury products (and sometimes purpose-made collections) for a fraction of the full retail price.

Are luxury brands upsetting the delicate balance that made them desirable in the first place? Is luxury fashion becoming too mass?

Context
Opinions
Robert Burke

Op-Ed | Global Luxury: How to Win When You're Everywhere

In an era of global luxury, the right balance between exposure and scarcity is critical, argues Robert Burke.

Sonja Prokopec

Op-Ed | To Keep Consumers Coming Back, Brands Must Build Desire Around Icons

Luxury brands can be accessible and exclusive, but if they don’t drive desire for signature products, customers will be satiated by entry-level accessories, argues Sonja Prokopec.

What's your opinion?