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What is your definition of luxury?



What is luxury? It is one of those big questions which has been asked many times however never answered holistically. 

Luxury to me is a state of mind. It is about how you carry yourself and live up to yours as well as society desires.

My idea concentrated on the matter of luxury from the position of oneself and others. One does not use luxury for just self but it is a lot socially minded use. For Instance, why do we put on the high-quality suit (dress) when going for an all-important gathering or interview? Why do we make a point that we do not use a cheap scent when going on a date? The issue of self-indulgence is laced with the socially targeted motives when it falls in the realm to luxury.

The concept of luxury has been present in diverse forms since the origin of civilization. Its purpose was just as essential in past western and eastern empires as it is in present day societies. With the distinct differences between social classes in previous civilisations, the uptake of luxury was unique to the elite classes. It also signified the definition of luxury was pretty clear. Whatsoever the lower clasess cannot have and the elite can was placed as luxury.

With increasing democratization, different new product classes were made within the luxury market which are aptly labeled  accessible luxury OR masstige luxury. This type of luxury is specially aimed at the bourgeoisie. As luxury pervaded into the masses, defining luxury has become ever so difficult.

In contemporary marketing usage, Prof. Bernard Dubois defines luxury as a unique (i.e. high-price) tier of offering in nearly any product or service class. However, despite the substantive knoweldge gathered during the previous decades, researchers yet haven't arrived on a general definition of luxury.

While the word luxury is used in everyday lives to cite to particular life style, the unstated constructs definition is person and situation specific. The word luxury originates from the Latin word luxus intending, soft or extravagant living, indulgence, sumptuousness or opulence. However, luxury is rather slippery term to specify because of the overwhelming engagement of human component and value realisation from others.

Umpteen other endeavors have been made to define luxury utilizing the price-quality attribute positing higher priced merchandises in any class is luxury. Similarly, researchers have used the uniqueness aspects of luxury as well. However, with increasing quality orientation from accessible brands and democratization of luxury, it is difficult to use either of the above attributes to create an accurate definition of luxury.

Kapferer and Bastian, uses an experimental approach and determines luxury as things which provide excess delight by flattering all sense at the same time. Various other academics, centre on exclusivity dimension and argue that luxury provokes a feel of belonging to a certain selected group. However, having an LVMH hang bag in central zones of any big metropolis across the globe, won't make you experience that way.

The debate above highlights the highly personal and multidimensional nature of the luxury concept. The efforts very much determine a property of luxury such as high price, high quality, uniqueness, exclusivity etc.

However, as the article demonstrates, it is unclear to us all as to what can be clearly idenfitied as luxury?

So what do you think is luxury?



1. Paurav Shukla on luxury marketing

2. What is luxury?