There will be many times when you happen to encounter people who speak passionately about the plethora of luxury brands that exist, fewer who use them and rarely any who let you use them. My good friend in college is one of those and she puts in all effort to motivate people around her to use them. Converting me to become a consumer of one of those fancy brands she admires, will be when she achieves some temporary calm.
One afternoon, during one of our conversations, she happened to use the hand cream by L’Occitane, and of course made me use it too. Reason for this brand only?: “It smells expensive.”
That made me think, and do some reading. What is her purchase behavior, really?
Luxury brands, or for that matter premium products are not brought for their functional purpose. It is for something more intangible. It is not necessarily and always to let the world know. It is that urge to satisfy oneself, that you are using a product that is not mass produced, or at least used by the masses. It is exclusive and it is for you.
Is that the case really though? No. Taking forward the example of L’Occitane, despite being a premier product and available both in offline and online space is still developing its market in India. It is available in 90 countries and operates over 3500 stores. It’s price range and accessibility is way above the affordable range of a middle class segment consumer. And that is what makes all the difference.
Price and brand are the primary constituents which give a luxury product its charm. This is followed by its exclusivity and features of packaging and smell. This is what really makes it appealing to all our senses. It is not expensive because it is priced a certain range; it is expensive for being the luxury brand, L’Occitane. Luxury, in its true sense is complex to define.
This is fairly true for most of the brands that operate in this sphere, but it is also necessary to note how unwilling Indian consumers are to pay a margin for this luxury. It will be interesting to note how the skincare and beauty industry develops as more and more of brands from around the world try to tap the pockets of Indian consumers. The emergence of e-commerce portals like Nykaa and Purplle is a beginning for this change.