When Luxury Becomes A Four Letter Word

Right about now, if you sell luxury goods and services, you’re hosed.

That is, unless you get the shift in consumer psychology and respond quickly. Over the last two weeks, I’ve spoken with a people very high up in the luxury furniture, hotel, goods and services businesses. And, they all tell me the same thing.

Enough people still have money to buy what they’re selling, but they don’t want to be viewed as spending frivolously right now.

Luxury shopping

There’s been a shift in the psychology of luxury buyers. For some, it’s that they feel genuinely awkward spending conspicuously, while so many others are in pain. For others, it’s more about perception, it’s just not “cool” to be spending lavishly on luxury right now.

Regardless of the reason, there’s been a noticeable shift away from spending money on things that are positioned as “public displays of luxury.”

Does that mean you’re hosed if you sell luxury stuff?

No. Well, yes, if you don’t do anything to at least temporarily reposition what you’re selling. But, no, if you get this change in psychology and what’s motivating it and then quickly change the marketing message around what you’re selling.

So, rather than luxury, you’re now selling exceptional quality. Rather than pampering, you’re selling high-level stress management and rejuvenation. Rather than glitz, glamor and showiness, you’re now in the business of premium, yet discrete, subtle and noticeable to the right people.

See, react, reposition … survive.