New Luxury - luxury as an expression of a new and cultivated rebellion

New Luxury - Luxury is the expression of a new, cultured rebellion: status symbols are charged with ethical added value and sustainable concerns. The luxury market is growing steadily worldwide. But what does luxury mean today?


New luxury, neo luxury

The luxury market is growing steadily worldwide. But what does luxury mean in a time when we are constantly on the go and always on? At a time when the global generation sees the world as their home and material possessionsincreasingly feels like ballast? In the traditional luxury brandsWould you rather destroy your products than take the risk that your surplus goods will be sold at dumping prices?

Something seems to be wrong, despite all the statistics. Luxury, which is defined by the fact that buyers feel they belong to a certain group thanks to certain status symbols and also show this to the outside world, has had its day as a distinguishing feature.

Almost anyone who wants to can now afford a Gucci bag - or simply borrow the red, high-powered Porsche for a weekend. The democratization of Luxury marketsis in full swing, based on the credo of marketing philosopher Jean-Noël Kapferer: “Everyone has the right to luxury”.

Related topics: The definition of luxury is changing: Ideal values ​​are outperforming overconsumption

The true elite consumes luxury in a different way

As a counter concept to the norms of the current everyday culture. In this sense, the philosopher also describes Lambert WiesingLuxury as a self-chosen anti-value, as a rebellion against a complex and insecure world. Luxury is therefore less and less defined by the object and its property, but is increasingly becoming an expression of one's own lifestyle and values.

As a rebellion against a careless consumption of luxury brands that promise high-end products but at the same time accept unfair and environmentally harmful manufacturing conditions, sustainable luxury is becoming more and more popular.


In the ultra-local trend, the principle is reversed

The high quality and the luxuriousness of the product are based solely on its origin, the context of the production and the raw materials. Ultra-local products define themselves and function exclusively through their origin and manufacture.

Already in the year 2007 the authors spoke Jem Bendell and Anthony Kleanthous in a WWF report of "Deeper Luxury": The growing awareness of consumers for ecological and social problems is the greatest cultural shift of the 21st century.

Various companies are now taking on precisely this global challenge. So these entrepreneurs are not primarily concerned with offering a luxury product, but rather with solving a problem. With the Roadster, Tesla, for example, did not set itself the goal of bringing a luxury sports car onto the market, but rather to fulfill its self-proclaimed mission - to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.

Sustainable Luxury can be considered a disruptive innovation

Sustainable luxury can be understood as a disruptive innovation, as the pioneers usually do not come from the luxury industry itself, but rather focus on an aspect that previously played no or only a subordinate role for luxury brands. Disruptors often act across borders and industries, invest in many different small projects and are characterized by determined profit growth.

At first glance, their actions often seem paradoxical, they break with familiar patterns, and visions often alternate between megalomania and world improvement. However, these visionaries are always driven by a concern that manifests itself in products or services.

Consumption of these objects also focuses on the issue: You consume something because you share the values ​​that the company embodies and because you want to support the pursuit of these goals. And this sustainability has its price. Because anyone who pursues a mission is not just about reducing costs - especially not at the expense of others or the environment.

Purpose is the biggest goal

Although companies are increasingly calling for a purpose - a higher purpose and a clear purpose - so far, only 18 percent of German and even only 11 percent of internationally active companies have worked out a company objective in their brand claim. More than half of the organizations emphasized the rational benefits of the product offered.

Nevertheless, it is clear: More and more consumers expect an eco-social behavior of companies and brands

One key challenge is Edelman Earned Brand Study 2018concludes that almost two thirds (64 percent) of consumers worldwide buy or boycott a brand simply because of their position on a social or political issue - an increase of 13 percentage points over the previous year.

More than half (53 percent) are even convinced that brands can do more than governments to solve social grievances. A company's concerns are particularly important to those under 35. This combination of luxury and sustainability gives rise to the eco-hedonism lifestyle: It's about living individually luxuriously - and at the same time doing socially good.

Source: Zukunftsinstitut from the trend study FUTURE PRODUCTS.Find out in 9 theses and 91 innovations how you can achieve sustainable product development. This article was an excerpt from Thesis 6: New Luxury.

Future Products


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

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