Market of luxury brands

Traditionally the market for the luxury brands was considered to be for the ones between the age of 30 and 50 but now younger people are entering the market (Cheong & Phau, 2003). The need for materialism and appearance is not limited to the wealthy consumers but also covers the less-well off young consumers that have a desire for fashion brands. An understanding of consumer attitudes is essential for the marketers to plan their strategy in reaching the target consumers. It is essential for the marketer to understand how consumers think and value a product. There has been a vast increase in the luxury market (Sriviroj, 2007) and attempts are being made to attract the youth through different marketing strategies. The youth are vulnerable and can easily be attracted by advertising and promotions. They have higher disposable incomes towards spending on luxury. However the attitude of the youth towards luxury purchasing is no different than the older adults.
The youth today is not lured by goods that are merely expensive. They want value for money and they purchase luxury goods for self-identity and well-being. Purchasing certain branded luxury goods help them to display their own tastes and values. For some it serves to fulfill the emotional needs where they see luxury as an indulgence of their senses. Luxury goods are premium goods with high quality products, aesthetic design supported by excellent service, purchased by people from the higher income bracket (Cheng, 2006). In the earlier days the term 'luxury' was applied to products that were rare and scarce and available to a small segment of the people (Sriviroj, 2007). The luxury items were out of reach of the ordinary people and considered rare. Today the luxury product market has increased manifold. The young are spontaneously aware of the luxury brands with the men focusing on cars and motorbikes and women's focus on beauty and food. These reflect the desires and fantasies that are conditioned by the social environment and associations with well-being, comfort, quality and self image.
Interpretation of the word 'luxury' depends upon their socio-economic background. The youth greatly represent the hedonistic effect in their attitude towards luxury items (Sriviroj, 2007). This implies that they are not influenced by group norms. On the other hand they purchase luxury goods that give them self-fulfillment. They look for exclusive benefits and if products create an emotional value for consumers it represents that the product has been beneficial. The emotional value that the youth look for include pleasure, excitement and aesthetic beauty. They indulge in luxury items as it gives them a sense of well-being and self-respect and would also go the extent of using their credit cards for them. They prefer these luxuries against bringing up a child while the elders indulged in luxury only after their basic responsibilities were fulfilled (Hamilton, 2004). The elders seek more than value when considering purchasing a luxury brand. They try to balance the product's tangible and intangible value with price. They assess discretionary purchases as either dispensable or indispensable, based on more deeply held core values (Salzman, 2009). While the youth focus on increasing their influence, power and wealth, the elders seek new priorities driven the fundamentals of human development. The traditional materialistic values are less important for the elders. The elders look for self-actualization in the luxury brand which as per Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes only after all the other needs have been satisfied.
Culture has a strong impact on the purchasing decisions. The youth are well aware of the luxury brands in areas like perfumes, clothing, fashion, leather goods, accessories, costume jewelry but not so in tableware. However they are very conscious of the modern sports cars and other different models of cars that emerge everyday. The attitude of the youth towards cars has definitely undergone a sea change from the 1980s. Marketing communications used by car companies like the BMW and Volvo are largely responsible for creating awareness of these brands among the young. The young consumers in 25-34 age range are looking for cars that are more luxurious than entry level. The young adult market has changed from the 1980s as now there are many more non-family households. The young have more disposable income to spend on luxury items. The companies offering cars to the young target advertisements to appeal to the mind-set of the young, something like 'pretty cool' thereby appealing to their lifestyle (Kostecki, 2005).
As far as tableware is concerned the attitude of the young has evolved in a different direction than that for cars. Even though household income has risen since the 1980s, and replacement is also fairly frequent, but the availability of cheap functional tableware has changed the attitude of the young. The demand for fine crystal is no more as it used to be. The young consumers do not perceive such crystal ware as relevant to their lifestyle (Researchandmarkets, 2005). They seek more contemporary products. Besides, they would consider buying tableware only when there is surplus resources left.
The young people in most countries have become inclined to purchase Italian luxury brands. In Australia, the Italian luxury brand in apparel is considered to be superior than the local Australian brand. Brand name has become important in the luxury market as the status seeking customers are more likely to buy apparel from countries with good brand name. The Italian bard is significantly better on three attributes - quality, fashionableness and brand name (Phau & Leng, 2008). The Italian brands have learned to touch the emotional needs of the target market (Xiao, 2005). They realize that is no more sufficient to be elegant, consistent and effective. Such a self-centered approach does not work any more. It is now important to know the customer and understand the high-end value proposition. For the young luxury brands represent their lifestyle and not the income. The young Indian consumer prefers the Italian brands because they have an international high-profile image (Nielsen, 2008). Consumers opt for brand and values - the image that the brand communicates.
A study by Seringhaus (2002) found that luxury brand awareness and purchase is not linked to age, gender, marital status and location of residence. It is more likely to be connected with income, education and occupation. They found that luxury goods are bought for '... what they mean, beyond what they are.' There are three main external effects that influence the purchase of luxury goods. These include the veblen effect -individuals use product price to display wealth, the snob effect - the item is purchased because of its scarcity and the bandwagon effect - when consumers buy goods because it conforms to a social group (Seringhaus, 2002). Cultural values are significant in determining the luxury system of symbols for young Americans, Asians and Europeans. Wealth display is important for the American consumer culture as they demonstrate their personal affluence through consumption, while Europeans believe that wasteful expenditures diminish the overall quality of life. The Europeans' purchasing habits display a much lesser veblen effect compared to the Americans while the Asians display the bandwagon effect.
The Eastern culture is based on interpersonal self-concepts which largely depends on the outer self, group decisions, norms, family, relatives and friends (Sriviroj, 2007). The West on the other hand has a foundation of personal self-concepts that relates to the inner self and independent decisions. Asians focus on visible possessions like designer labels, expensive cars or jewelry. Cultural differences override the economic prosperity which is also seen in the four cultural dimensions by Hofstede - Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity - Femininity and Individualism - Collectivism. Individual and power distance both increase with economic growth whereas masculinity-femininity is independent of prosperity (Bhosale & Gupta, 2006). The individual - collectivism index is low even in wealthier countries like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea and hence this dimension is independent of economic affluence. The Asian society in general has collectivist values, is a masculinity driven society and self-control and spirituality continue to exert powerful pressure. For the Europeans, brands are a means of communicating who they are. They recognize that they no longer have one common belief system and hence they seek brands that create a similar vision of life (Christensen). A brand that is self-evident and communicates that life can be difficult and full of challenges is more appealing to the youth in Europe. They want brands that communicate simplicity, purity and harmony. For the Americans, comfort is very important and they prefer brands that represent the "clean cut, all American" way of life (Parker, Hermans & Schaefer, 2004). Self-expression is very important to them. They have more access to credit cards and technology. For them shopping is a social activity and they prefer brands that represent the American way of life. In clothing they give preference to comfort and trendiness while they gave no importance to having same clothing as friends or celebrities. They give lot of importance to fashion specially the female sex.
The buying behaviour of the young has been influenced to a large extent by the marketing campaigns and the marketing communications used by the marketers. To
attract the young consumers companies usually use talent -celebrity endorsement like movie actors, models, athletes or famous people (Bergestrom & Skarfstad, 2004). Young consumers like responding to catwalks and celebrity fashion shows (Newman & Patel, 2004) because a charismatic personality signifies a strong, deep, long-lasting relationship between the consumer and the brand personality (Milas & Mlacic, 2007). Brands have personalities or images, and consumers seek those brands that match their self-image or the image they would like to project to others (Goldsmith, Moore & Beaudoin, 1999). Self-concept is important to the young as self-perceptions motivate behavior, giving control and direction to human performance (Goldsmith, 2002). The elders on the other hand are less idealistic than they were. They are easily turned off by advertising, stores and shopping malls. They prefer informative-intensive ads that identify a product's benefits rather than image-oriented marketing that targets young consumers (Roberts & Manolis, 2000).
The young consumers are not conformist. They do not want to confirm to societal or group norms and are individualistic in their choice, although minor differences can be found in different societies of the world. The young are evolutionary as they give importance to self-concept; the brand must communicate a sense of well-being and self-respect. They are trendy and modern - their want luxury brands that match their lifestyle. They are very conscious of the luxury labels available and they have access to them as the young have higher disposable incomes. What was considered rare and precious has become an object of compulsive buying if it matches the self-image of the young. The buying behavior of young has evolved since the 1980s as they go for products like modern cars while objects like tableware does not hold importance. While the elders give importance to self-actualization the young focus on self-concept.

References
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Market of luxury brands 8.9 of 10 on the basis of 2141 Review.