Retail Dogma

Luxury Brand: Definition, Characteristics & Examples

A luxury brand is a brand that is characterized by a high level of quality, exclusivity and high price tags.

Luxury brands are present in many different sectors, especially retail, hospitality and automotive.

What Makes a Luxury Brand?

The main factor that makes a luxury brand is how exclusive it can be.

Of course it’s a given that luxury brands will be of high quality, but that can also be achieved by premium brands, which provide high quality and seek to sell to everyone who can afford it.

Luxury brands, on the other side, do not seek to serve the masses, nor do they want their products to be readily available, even at high prices. Scarcity is key when it comes to luxury marketing, and this is what makes it aspirational in the first place.

It’s not the rich that fuel the luxury sector, it is actually people who aspire to belong to this segment. And so a brand that wants to succeed in being a luxury brand, needs to maintain a high level of exclusivity and scarcity, in addition to other premium characteristics.

Other Characteristics of Luxury Brands Include:

  • Craftsmanship
  • Heritage
  • Sophistication
  • Creativity
  • Superior Performance

Luxury Brands in Retail

Luxury retail groups usually produce a number of luxury brands under their umbrella across various retail segments. These include fashion, beauty, accessories and beverages.

For example, LVMH is a conglomerate specializing in luxury goods, and owns some of the most popular luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior, Givenchy & Marc Jacobs.

Another player is the Richemont group, which owns brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels & Mont Blanc.

Luxury fashion brands vary in their degree of exclusivity, where Haute Couture involves the highest level of scarcity with very few pieces for select few customers and RTW have a broader market with standardized products.

In all cases, those brands maintain a very high degree of quality and craftsmanship, and force their level of exclusivity through high price points.

Read Also: What is Luxury Retail?

Luxury Brands in Hospitality

Marriott is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, and has a number of luxury hotel brands under its umbrella. These include Bulgari, The Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott and St Regis.

Marriott Luxury Brands
Image Source: Marriott

These hotels tend to provide a special experience that makes their guest feel exclusive and special.

Luxury Brands in Automotive

A lot of automotive manufacturers that sell to the masses also add a luxury brand to their product line.

For example, Nissan’s luxury brand is Infiniti and Toyota’s luxury brand is Lexus.

Other automotive players specialize in luxury lines, such as Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Range Rover.

Luxury vs. Premium

A lot of people confuse between luxury brands and premium brands, or assume they are the same.

The main difference between luxury brands and premium brands is in the audience they are targeting. Premium brands target a large audience, basically whoever has the need for its product and is willing to pay up for the high quality.

Luxury brands, as we mentioned, do not seek to appeal to everyone and want to remain exclusive, and so they set their prices at a prohibitively high level, even though it does not necessarily translate into a much higher quality than the premium.

If a luxury brand attempts to appeal to a broader market, like Michael Kors and Coach did, it risks losing its luxury status because it will no longer posses the scarcity aspect.

This is important to understand while starting a fashion line, because it will determine how the brand will be marketed and priced.

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