One notes, a strong expansion of the luxury market at the economic level, estimated in 2000 at approximately 90 billion euros (according to a Eurostaf study). Moreover, exploratory studies promise a bright future, with the emergence of a new wealthy class, globalization, and an expansion in the list of the countries related to luxury consumption generating a strong potential for the development of the sector. At the organizational level, small independent and semi-traditional companies of the past gave way to conglomerates of international size, with multi-brand groups applying methods and strategies that have been tested in mass markets. This is the result of an acceleration of movements of concentration by mergers, acquisitions and transfers of brands on a globalized market. One can see a goal of financial profitability in this sector, without which the motive for the creativity and excellence of products would disappear. The new world of the luxury is none other than an original summary of financial and aesthetic strategies, constraints of productivity, traditional know-how, innovation and conservation of heritage. All these paradoxical structural tensions however ensure its success and its development. Once the preserve of the wealthy, luxury items are gradually descending to street level. The coming together of the luxury and marketing has led to a requirement: to open up the luxury segment to the masses and to render "the inaccessible accessible". Thus today luxury has several faces, for the various sections of people it caters to. In same time, the social visibility of luxury has increased; first of all by the mechanical effect of the increase in the number of existing luxury brands, then by the intensification of investing in advertising for luxury brands. One witnesses an extension of distribution networks, with an increase in exclusive shops, and also the appearance of selective distribution chains using the codes of large distribution. Hence, the co-habitation of two tendencies: the first conveys the power of the dream and the attraction of luxury, the other standardizes it and demystifies it.
[...] The Internet accelerates and amplifies the democratization of luxury which is no longer based on the notion of something which is rare and expensive. This democratization of luxury via the Internet reveals a change in the behavior and values of the life of consumers. The emergence of the “luxury pleasure” In a gloomy socio-economic environment, where the consuming citizen is disillusioned, even chronically anxious, luxury is an answer to this society which the sociologist Robert Ebguy calls society of consolation”. [...]
[...] B The issues of luxury brands vis-a-vis the democratization of their offer 1°/Dangers Highly sensitive to the fluctuations of the market Luxury industries now obey the rules of the market and profitability. The democratization of luxury increases the sensitivity of its sales to the fluctuations of the economic situation. In the event of economic difficulties, the middle-class is more inclined to switch to cheap products, than the privileged class for whom luxury items are everyday products. Recent events have however shown that the psychology of the consumer was more complex than one would have believed. [...]
[...] Thus, a house specialized in Haute Couture will engage in the production and the sale of accessories which will enable it to increase the volume of its sales (we will later touch upon the impact of accessories in the luxury industry). Chanel was initially a house ofcouture. Over time, the brand diversified: Watches, jewelry, leather goods, spectacle industry, perfumery, make-up, cosmetics Brand stretching has undeniable advantages: economies of scale, reinforcement of brand awareness, opportunities for growth in a saturated market, development of customer loyalty This practice also has a direct impact on stock market performance: in fact, the groups which use it have seen their capitalization increase by as opposed to for the others7. [...]
[...] In fact, it seems that this is a democratization of sorts: luxury brands are eager to reach a larger audience and to renew their customer base, in particular, by attracting the younger generation. They have thus decided to produce certain accessories at relatively cheap price which makes them “purchasable”. In this part, we will confront two famous names of the world of the luxury: Chanel and Dior. We have chosen these two brands because it is easy to note a deep difference in their respective policies of the democratization of their offer. [...]
[...] Following this report, we would like to examine the future of luxury vis-a-vis its democratization and the risks taken by luxury brands to respond to and promote this tendency. We will try to answer the following problems: Can luxury brands democratize their offer while preserving their soul? We will also delve into other additional topics: What is luxury? What are its values and characteristics? Why the democratization of luxury? What are its consumption patterns? What are the characteristics of this luxury”? [...]
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