Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Marketing

Advisor

Cole, John

Reader

Rapert, Molly

Abstract

“In spite of the global recession, luxury seems to be everywhere. Luxury is a term that is routinely used in our everyday life: a promise of decadence and a dream of an exclusive lifestyle, a key component of marketing management and a tagline in commercials and advertising campaigns…However, what does luxury really mean? The only consensus on the meaning of luxury is that there is little consensus” (Hennigs et al. 3). For an industry that once presented itself as so exclusive and definitive, it is hard to believe there is such uncertainty in defining this market. Much of this ambiguity can be contributed to the impact of globalization and conglomeration that previously impacted the economy, as well as trends in brand and product extensions. Regardless of how or why this industry evolved, a definitive consensus can be made that the luxury brand industry is different than it once was. However, as one can imagine, the understanding of consumers’ perceptions regarding luxury brands is key for creating appropriate strategies. Consumers’ varying perceptions towards luxury brands creates many questions in regards to what trait or traits really define a brand as “luxury”. Is it the price, the quality, the brand’s history or some other indicator that identifies a brand as a luxurious one to consumers? Furthermore, there tends to be hypocrisy in consumers’ perceptions towards luxury brands. In regards to consumers’ attitudes towards the concept of luxury, The Journal of Business & Economics Research claims “they are ambivalent across and within consumers, as consumer behavior is inconsistent with self-reported attitudes, as consumers can’t understand their own contradictions” (Stegemann 61). In addition to marketers’ struggle to understand what consumers perceive as a luxury brand, the impact of technology and the digital age has only enhanced the subject matter. Luxury brands that once prided themselves on premier customer service and providing a sort of “white –glove” experience for their customers, must be flexible and accepting in their marketing strategies or face the fear of abandonment. The consumer of today’s world not only views luxury brands differently but also shops differently. Instant gratification is a concept that has become prevalent in consumers buying habits and must be noted by marketers. As the European Financial Review recognizes “Luxury is everywhere”, and the fact of the matter is that these luxury brands must come to terms with today’s world of E-commerce (Hennigs 2). It is necessary to understand how consumers view luxury brands as well as their routine purchase habits, because these perceptions and preferences will be essential in establishing marketing strategies that ensure loyal customers.

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