It’s Necessities I Can Do Without

Oscar Wilde said that. But it was coupled with his request that he be blessed with luxuries. Along with the ability to resist anything but temptation. And apparently luxury shoppers are following this philosophy, as the French luxury conglomerate, LVMH (who own the likes of such brands as Louis Vuitton, Dom Perignon, and Christian Dior), reported a 15% gain in 3Q sales.

Luxury shoppers are apparently not as concerned with the threat of a global recession and an up-and-down stock market as other consumers, because LVMH also indicated their outlook for the rest of the year was going to be just as bright and shiny!

This is in stark contrast to some of the initial findings in our annual Holiday Shopping Survey where consumers – albeit consumers looking at more customary holiday gift purchases – indicated only a 2.9% increase in spending over last year. Not exactly an opulent spending forecast. Even in Europe, where economic worries continue to grow, luxury sales were up more than twice that!

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Over the past half-decade luxury brands have managed to do what more basic brands have failed to do: have their brands actively perform as surrogates for added value. Differentiate themselves from the run-of-the-mill. Justify their existence in the marketplace. And their price.

The French have a proverb that goes, “it is impossible to overdo luxury.” We’re not sure that that’s absolutely true. What loyalty and engagement confirms though is – whether a luxury brand or not – it is impossible to overdo brand meaning or differentiation. Because an investment in that always pays the best interest!

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