Thursday, April 09, 2015

Luxury Pyramids

I ran across this interesting article a while back by Meagan Willet on the "Business Insider" website: Here's the Hierarchy of Luxury Brands Around the World. It cited a book by HSBC Bank managing director Erwan Rambourg titled The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun, in which Mr Rambourg created a pyramid of brands to show how major brand names range in accessibility from more-or-less affordable everyday luxuries like Starbucks coffee* and craft beers to extreme-high-end luxury items like top-of-the-line diamonds. Here's his pyramid:

The idea is that brands which become overly accessible to the Great Unwashed like you and I become less desirable and appealing to those higher up on the economic scale. If too many people are able to buy a particular item, it loses its appeal as a symbol of the wealth, power, and sophistication that allows the privileged to exist in the rarefied atmosphere of the social and economic elite.

I tried to do up a few versions of the Rambourg Pyramid** that would be a little more realistic when applied to the 99%, but wasn't really happy with any of them. Here's one version ...

In my pyramid, the first five levels represent the increasing levels of more realistic "luxury" (meaning that there's more disposable income to be able to dispose of at increasingly expensive stores). Most of us will never reach the peak of super-ultra-premium-high-end goods represented at the Bespoke*** level of Mr Rambourg's pyramid.

I spend most of my time in the first three levels of my pyramid and the first level of Mr Rambourg's, and at my age I'm not likely to move up much higher. So tell me ... what does your pyramid look like? Leave a comment and let the rest of us know.

Have a good day. Shop at the right places, and come back tomorrow when we reveal our Right Cheek Ass Clown of the Month for April.

More thoughts then.


* I'm not sure I agree that Starbucks Coffee is an "affordable everyday luxury" ... I sometimes think that each Starbucks location should have a collocated bank branch to handle short-term loans.

** My term, not Mr Rambourg's.

*** "Bespoke" means "custom-made," as opposed to off-the-rack.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

My pyramid is a shorty -- Starbuck's, Five Guys, and movie tickets are at the bottom, Chipolte, Panera, and V.S. are at the next level, Concert and ballet tickets are next up, Lululemon and Ann Taylor are getting into the rare indulgence.

I'm not into bling or designer shoes.

That luxury pyramid is a great concept.

I love my Kindle and think it to be a everyday luxury.

Banana Oil said...

I follow the advice of Buddha: Suffering is caused by craving. Fortunately, with my income, it's hard to develop most cravings. Yes, nice coffee, beer, movies, and cute swimsuits please me everyday. Everyday pleasures, with an occasional big one: one piece of Godiva chocolate per day, does brighten things.

Being in Florida is itself a luxury.

Mike said...

All I need is to sell one handmade bespoke to someone and I'm set for life.

Linda Kay said...

We have a 30th anniversary coming up, so hubby found out it is a diamond (or pearl) year. I told him I don't need any more jewelry, especially expensive stuff. We'll see what he comes up with, God love him!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

We shop at Target for affordable luxury, as do most of the working grunts in Huntsville. A bookstore date on Sunday afternoon and dropping in at a Chinese restaurant. We drive mid-sized and mid-priced cars, and vacation on the Redneck Riviera. Bubba cat is a premium luxury, even though he's an ordinary tabby.

Atomic Dog said...

I don't even recognize the brands at the upper end of the pyramid, beyond Rolex. I wear a Timex.