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Luxury brands: The idea of luxury in different countries

Consumption is increasingly shaped by values like sustainability, fairness, and individuality. Does this value shift also result in a different understanding of luxury?

Consumption is increasingly shaped by values like sustainability, fairness, and individuality. Does this value shift also result in a different understanding of luxury? BrandTrust wanted to get to the bottom of this question in 2007, and conducted the first representative study on the topic of "new luxury" in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Five years later, we are asking the question again and want to know:

  • How has luxury changed over these past, economically dramatic years?
  • What is the impact on the global market for luxury goods?
  • How will luxury be defined in the future?
  • How different is immaterial luxury from material luxury?
  • What is the relationship between luxury and sustainability?
  • Low-key and loud luxury: What are the differences?

So we ran another study in 2012 and compared the two. The new luxury study, however, contains two essential changes:

  1. The study was not conducted only in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, but extended to the USA and China, the world's largest luxury markets. Thus, the study covers the luxury segment in the three most important hemispheres and allows us to compare the understanding of luxury on three continents.
  2. In all markets we examined, we surveyed only persons from the upper 10 percent of the income range, i.e. the income group that is relevant for luxury brands.

Some of the many insights gained from the study are:

    • In the countries we examined, brands of family businesses stand up well against the brands of luxury corporations.
    • Brands that charged their trust reservoirs over the course of many years persevere even during long periods of crisis. The strength stored by such brands is enormous.
    • On the one hand, material luxury serves as a reward drug, differentiation fetish, and symbol of upward mobility. On the other hand, health, good nutrition, self-determination, and experience consumption are seen on a level with classic luxury and consumed parallel to it.
    • Product-driven luxury no longer works without experience, and vice versa. There is no longer just one kind of luxury – the present luxury is defined differently according to life phases and socio-cultural frame of reference. The idea of luxury is multi-dimensional.
    • Where the understanding of luxury in the individual countries is concerned, there is immense variety. While Germans, Austrians, and the Swiss engage in understated, subtle luxury, the Chinese love symbols that make their wealth obvious. US citizens, as yet, have no apparent preferences.

Das Video zeigt einige spannende Detailergebnisse der Studie.

The video shows a summary of the most important study results.

There is an add-on to the study "New Luxury and Brands Reloaded": A 4-field matrix illustrates the awareness and attractiveness of 40 luxury brands.

The study design: The market research agency Puls Marktforschung surveyed 1,491 persons, all from the top ten percent of the income range, meaning the relevant income group for luxury brands. The sample consisted of 509 respondents from Germany, 202 Austrians, 267 from Switzerland, 255 from the USA, and 258 from China. The survey was conducted in August 2012.

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