The concept of “luxury”



When you think “luxury”, you probably think, “Rolls Royce Phantom, Burj al Arab Dubai, high-end restaurants, Cartier Jewelry, Louboutins, Versace Dresses, Diamonds” etc. But have you ever thought of what exactly qualifies these items as “luxury”?

Some people may go with the Economics 101 definition, “a good whose demand by a consumer is increased with an increase in the consumer’s income.”  Indeed, this is true , but I doubt that is the reason for your desire of a Patek Phillipe Nautilus or that S-class Mercedes.

Some may go with the conventional perception, “…..because it is expensive; only rich people can afford it.” True too. But high prices are just a reflection of the value luxury gives to its consumer. Really, money is not enough to qualify a thing as luxurious, as it isn’t a measure of taste.

So what exactly defines luxury? I could go on and on about the various qualities that make one but these three points below aptly categorise them.

• The look
• The feel
• The experience

The look:


Have you perceived how hotels are often lavishly decorated with high-end furniture
or have you noticed how well a solid-gold dial matches a brown-crocodile-skin strap?
Luxury is about aesthetics. Luxury is pleasing to look at, be it a car, watch, dress or even a location (hotel, restaurant).

Manufacturers of luxury products strategically deploy product design to stand out from mass market manufacturers. In doing this , they consider human behavior. People make subjective judgment of aesthetic value on the basis of product appearance and the emotional responses it evokes; in simple terms, the way it looks and how they react to it. .

Accordingly, because of the value placed on these luxury goods, they tend to be in higher demand but short in supply, simultaneously costing higher than less attractive products.

The feel:
A major characteristic of luxury is quality. As such, the quality should be perceivable through the five senses. Luxury does “not only look beautiful but also are (and should be) pleasant to hear, smell, taste or touch” and therefore offer a “source of sensual pleasure,” declared a 2001 text led by Dubois.

Manufacturers of luxury products are the leading experts with strong creative power in their area of excellence; they know how to make high quality products that are aesthetically pleasing. They are meticulous; handcrafting their products and making use of the finest and rarest ingredients/features to sculpt a product of high value.


The Hermes bag is made of  polished Mississippiensis alligator leather and a Palladium plated lock shape closure.

The experience:
Luxury is an experience.

Luxury goods are rare. Luxurious brands produce their goods in small quantities and individualize them – it’s what makes them unique.

As a human being, you feel special when something is exclusive to you; when you are the only one that has something that is admired or desired by others. Once a lot of people have that thing, you lose that ‘special’ status and then you value that thing less.

I remember when a friend of mine got his new burgundy tassel loafers.  He treasured them so much. After some time, the loafers became very popular and he decided to get rid of them. I asked him why and he said,
“I was the only one with those shoes, I felt unique in them. I had them for a year and now that everyone is walking around with one, I just valued it less”. Owning a luxury good makes you feel special and gives you a sense of exclusivity.

With the high price tags of luxury, they rarely ever become “public property” and with their extraordinary features, they always stand out in the crowd.

Luxury involves first-class treatment of its customers. Luxury cars with their high-technology and first-class cabins, Luxury restaurants and hotels with their lavish interior decoration, high-end amenities and top-of-the-line customer service make their customers feel like royalty, giving them their money’s worth.


The Mercedes-Ben S65 AMG coupe, with its V12 engine , first class cabin interior , drenched in hand-stitched fine grain leather , diffused with the Signature Mercedes interior fragrance , it gives its owner the ultimate driving experience.

Luxury is also a status symbol. You may see a normal, looking pair of heels on a woman and initially not take note of it. However , when she takes a step and you get a peak of the red lacquered soles/bottoms , it raises an eyebrow.

Something as simple as free time can be luxury if you are someone who has a tight schedule, because it’s rare.The concept of luxury isn’t just “wealth” or “richness”. Luxury is something that’s of high value to its consumer, short-term or long-term; through either high quality, high performance, rarity, exclusivity or special features.


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