Buying time is the latest trend in luxury. It’s one thing wealthy consumers can’t get enough of. Constantly on the go with jam-packed schedules, they are willing to pay a premium for products and services that will add a few extra minutes to their busy days.
Luxury as a category is undergoing a paradigm shift. Wider availability and accessibility of luxury goods are breaking down the old barriers of exclusivity and privilege that used to define luxury. While price is still a bar for many, luxury brands now cater to a broader consumer market.
You don’t have to be in New York, London or Paris to gain access to the most sought-after labels. Retail outlets can be found in most major cities around the globe, or you can shop online and have them come to you.
Marketers use terms like “mass luxury” or the “democratization of luxury” to describe this trend. A study by the Shullman Research Center found luxuries were bought by almost as many consumers whose household income is less than $75,000 as by those with household incomes of $75,000 or more, including the upper income segment of $250,000 or more.
Many of these luxury purchases were for less pricey items, such as perfumes, beauty items, designer clothing and accessories, wine and spirits, fine watches, and jewelry. Nonetheless, the encroachment of less-affluent consumers into once-exclusive brands is changing the value proposition of luxury.
In an article on the website Luxury Society, Jonathan Ford, founding creative partner at Pearlfisher, a creative design and branding agency, observes, “Luxury is no longer just about a brand name or solely synonymous with material things. A sense of time, experience and value are intrinsic to enriching today’s luxury offer.”
Busy affluent consumers are looking not only to save time, but also to gain a new appreciation for the value of time, to change pace and savor the moment.
“Luxury brands need to encourage us to slow down and explore with thoughtful contemplation and appreciation,” Ford says.
In San Francisco, where the thriving tech community measures its days in nanoseconds, interior designer Mark Cutler of nousDECOR knows his clients value their time.
“For our clients who all have busy lives and many of them multiple homes, the greatest luxury we can offer them is time, as that seems to be the thing they cannot get ahead of,” he relates in an interview with Haute Living. “So anything that will help create a home that will give them more time is high on their list.”
Convenience and easy of maintenance are key features, as are easy-to-use smart technologies that control lighting, heating, and audio systems. His firm also arranges concierge services for clients.
“Keeping track of a modern house can be very time-intensive. Since we have designed the house, we are the best people to help our client maintain it, with regularly scheduled deep cleaning, painting or even replacement of outdoor furniture,” Cutler explains. “These types of services are the new luxury.”
Serviced apartments that offer a combination of luxury and concierge services have seen a spike in demand in the past year in Europe, according to a recent report from hospitality consulting firm HVS. The UK’s Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) predicts 50 percent growth in Europe’s serviced apartments sector over the next two years.
“An overwhelming 83 percent of those questioned preferred serviced apartments as their digital nomad headquarters, so that they could enjoy the benefits of home with the amenities of a hotel,” states the report. In addition, respondents said they could more easily take advantage of their leisure time.
And that time in itself is a luxury.
About the Author
Michael J. Berens is a freelance researcher and writer with more than 30 years of experience in association communication and management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was provide by Multibriefs.