Warc Briefing: Luxury

Definition: Luxury brands are high ticket, infrequently purchased goods and services typically only available to an elite because of their price, scarcity or limited public profile.

Quick facts

  • China will account for 20% of the global luxury market by 2015i.
  • Four macro trends have driven the long-term increase in global luxury purchasing: increased disposable income, reduced unemployment, falling production costs and increased female employmentii.
  • The number of Louis Vuitton stores worldwide has grown from 251 to 450 in a decadeiii.

History and future outlook

The luxury consumer has existed throughout history, but has undergone several radical makeovers in the last three decades.

Historically, luxury consumers belonged almost exclusively to the royalty, aristocracy and the rich merchantile classes. By the mid-19th century, several premium brand houses had been established, including Hermès (1837), Cartier (1847) Louis Vuitton (1854), Patek Phillipe (1851) and Burberry (1856) to cater for these small but immensely rich groups.