If you ask ten people what is luxury, you'll receive ten different answers. A business definition would say that a luxury good or service delivers something valuable at the highest end of the market, both in quality and price. But luxury is deeply personal. The key here is that it needs to be valuable, and that's what makes defining luxury such a challenge.
The Fundamentals of Luxury
The fundamentals of luxury help us focus on the one centering quality that defines all luxury - value.
Personal value is extremely powerful and impossible to dismiss.
A perfect, new set of china is attractive but may have no personal significance, making it valuable but not invaluable. Meanwhile, the same person may feel that another set, however imperfect but passed down from a notable ancestor, is undeniably priceless.
Something associated with a memorable occasion like a marriage, the birth of a child, or the launch of a company can give the owner great confidence, transforming the value of a watch or a home by layering on that personal, emotional, and sentimental value.
Time is highly prized, so products and offerings that help you make efficient use of it, like an estate manager, and that help you relish every moment of your time, such as a yacht charter, can both come at a luxury price tag. The first because of its practical value, the latter because of its personal one.
Practical value speaks to our logical mind.
Something well-designed and well-made speaks to practical value and quality. Advancements can often shape luxury offerings through special features, new technologies, or innovations. In this case, quality is linked to progress, and customers may feel it practical to upgrade. But being functional or utilitarian can apply to not only how something works or how long it lasts but how something looks as well. If a sofa functions well within a room, the material or detailing is a rational choice rather than an emotional one.
Sometimes it's not even about you.
A higher purpose can also drive luxury, which speaks to what society values at large. Social movements, cultural renaissances, historical periods, and notable figures have value and importance on a societal or cultural scale. These luxuries are status symbols, emblematic of what people hold dear, and often reliable appreciating assets.