Exclusivity. Exclusivity defines what something luxurious could be. Or that's how it used to be at least. The trend under the spotlight at the moment is converting what used to be exclusive and bespoke and bringing it down to the masses. This is due to the great lapses in technology in recent times, and the speed at which this conversion has been taking place is absolutely astounding.
This trend has created a whole new market for the more demanding consumer-led economy. It comes from the principle of providing something used to be difficult and expensive to make to something easily affordable and doable. There are countless of examples here; remember how expensive and difficult it used to be to design and among a website in the late 90's / early 2000's? Then people like Weebly, Wix and Squarespace came along and made website making a piece of cake, for an affordable sum of money. Remember how exclusive and bespoke it was of a service to have your car fitted with the options of your choice? Then machinery got more and more advanced and car manufacturers like Mini offered its customers an array of customisation options! They used Just-In-Time methods and still were able to batch-produce their cars and provide prompt delivery to the customers. Another successful example? Uber! Without further ado, their slogan says it all; "Everyone's Private Driver" - again, bringing something that used to be exclusive down to the masses. Who would have ever thought that you could get a ride in an E-Class that might end up costing you less than one in a London black cab? The examples go on and on. This emphasises on the chance of opportunity this has created in the massively saturated markets we live in today!
The Reasons How And Why The Market Is Going In This Direction
Just by understanding how saturated the market is with ideas, you would foresee the need for a new market to grow. How? Well, it's the strong competitive nature of the economy. Businesses are fiercely fighting on pricing and pricing is becoming an outdated tool of consumer attractiveness. In other words, pricing is still an important factor of course in the game of competition, but it is by no means the only contributing factor in pitching a product as unique. This strong competition is pushing competitors to constantly innovate and improve further on their products. This nature of innovation has left consumers with a certain level of expectation. Yet, businesses are always looking to improve and stand-out and this market in contention is proving to be an effective one!
The cited trend under the spotlight is acting as a catalyst to the rate of innovation. However, it can be argued that it might be a cause for a push too far. The speeds of innovation we are witnessing across most business sectors are truly astounding and despite it being a good thing to provide accessibility to people of something that was not available to them, it leaves little room for what truly defines "luxurious products and services". In other words, the only things that define luxurious products and services at the moment are either designer brands, products made with genuine materials that simply cannot be cheaply bought in wholesale (i.e. Gold, Diamond, Marble, Cashmere, Silk, etc) and services that have high (and mostly unavoidable) running and maintenance costs involved (e.g. Private Jet Charter). What's ironic is, even that last example I gave is becoming a mainstream service to make use of; Companies like PrivateFly is doing that! Uber are hiring helicopters in Dubai! It's becoming a stance of madness! 'The things you do to stay competitive' must be the line on each entrepreneur's mind, but we never thought it could have gone that far 10 years ago, did we? What's more, have you considered what could happen to the current market leaders in the luxury sector? We could argue that a big portion of the people who used to buy from certain designer brands per say, will continue on doing so for their brand loyalty and level of service they are accustomed to. That said, consumers of the same category are less likely to opt-in for a cheap but custom-made suit instead of going to their usual taylor. This is why I don't worry too much about losing sight of this target market of luxury products and services. Who I worry about is companies like the ones who existed before Weebly for instance, the ones whose business was seriously hit by these newcomers who have dominated their market. This applies to most business sectors and market leaders who should be ready for this domination of "we can make it accessible" companies.
How Far Could This Go?
Now that anyone can ride in a helicopter, get their private driver on demand, make their custom-made suit for a cheap price, build a website and manage it easily, order their averagely-priced car with their own customisations and soon fly around in private jets, anything can happen!