Research and Markets : ‘New Luxury’ Defines the Category From the Point-of-View of the Consumer,” Find Out What This Means Here

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Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of Luxury Brands & Their Role in Luxury Purchases Luxury Tracking Report & Analysis, 1Q2004 to their offering.

The phrase ‘new luxury’ is tossed around a lot of late, often synonymous with ‘masstige,’ i.e. mass prestige, as it applies to affordable, new generation luxury brands like Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret and Panera.

However, the concept of mass-marketed luxury doesn’t go far enough to explain the paradigm shift that is taking place in the luxury market today. “The real shift in the luxury market is a change in the way consumers define luxury. ‘Old luxury’ is defined by the attributes, qualities and features of the product, and usually refers to heritage brands that charge a premium, such as Mercedes, Christian Dior, and Cartier. ‘New luxury’ defines the category from the point-of-view of the consumer,”

“Based on new research conducted by Unity Marketing, luxury consumers focus on the experience of luxury embodied in the goods and services they buy, not in ownership or possession itself. So ‘new luxury’ is about the experience of luxury from the consumers’ perspective, while ‘old luxury’ remains focused on the traditional, product-based definition of luxury.”

Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of Luxury Brands & Their Role in Luxury Purchases Luxury Tracking Report & Analysis, 1Q2004 to their offering.

Two ways to define luxury: intrinsically and consumer-centrically

In the old luxury world view, luxury is defined as the special qualities, features and attributes intrinsic to a product. In most categories, whether fashion, automobiles, furniture, linens, jewelry, or tabletop, specific product features constitute luxury. For cars it’s handling and ride, leather seats and wood detailing; in jewelry, platinum and real gemstones; in linens, 500 thread- count sheets, Egyptian cotton, etc. Here the product expresses or incorporates features that confer the ‘best of the best’ status. Many old luxury companies stop here, focusing their resources only on creating the ultimate product.

New luxury companies recognize that the intrinsic definition of luxury does not reflect the changes taking place in the luxury market today. “New luxury companies recognize the need to incorporate consumer experience and perception into the luxury branding equation. They begin by offering the ‘best of the best’ quality, but go that extra step to deliver not just a great thing, but a wonderful experience to the customer,”

Luxury companies like Tiffany, Godiva Chocolatier, Saks Fifth Avenue, KitchenAid, Sub-Zero are attuned to this new experiential luxury paradigm.

In recent focus groups new luxury was described as:

•        Quality is in eyes of beholder. We often associate quality with expensive, but it doesn’t necessarily have to go hand in hand. Sensual experience, massage, wonderful dinner, travel, a treat, something very special you do for yourself.

•        A state of mind, being able to do something that I couldn’t do before.

•        Luxury means I can live my life in a way that I don’t have to worry about money. Luxury doesn’t mean labels. It means comfort. If I want to go somewhere and I am able to do it, that is luxury.

•        Luxury to me is not a necessity, but a privilege. It means to be able to do things in regard to services, time, material things.

•        The most luxury ever is to have enough time to do whatever you want and be able to afford it.

•        I buy what I like and what I want. It is nice to have that feeling that you can do what you want when you want it.

“When we talk about luxury from the consumers’ experiential perspective, the brand becomes irrelevant. What matters is how the brand delivers the luxury experience it promises “In other words, ‘old luxury’ is about the thing (i.e. a noun), while ‘new luxury’ is about the consumer experience (i.e. a verb)”

The first issue of Luxury Tracking Service Results focuses on the importance of branding in the luxury market. Do consumers demand higher expectations from luxury brands?

Purchasers of the 1Q2004 results, will also have access to The Consumer Luxury Consumption Index. The luxury consumption index is a tool prepared to help luxury marketers assess the vitality of the affluent market.

After ending 2003 on a high note, luxury consumers stepped back slightly in their overall confidence with the March 2004 Luxury Consumption Index at 97.8, compared with a baseline of 100 in January.

“Luxury consumers started the new year feeling very positive about their financial well-being, but that moderated during the first quarter 2004.” “The luxury consumers’ expectations for future spending on luxuries dipped in relation to their ability to spend.”

For more information visit

Laura Wood

Senior Manager

Research and Markets

Fax: +353 1 4100 980


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Laura Wood
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