Key driver for luxury desirability

After working for Dune London for three years, a ‘designer high-street’ brand that claims to offer the quality of true luxury brands but with a more accessible price (yet in most cases still out of my financial reach), I began to understand why consumers are so willing to splurge money for some pretty basic-looking boots that don’t look any different from boots that you’ll find in 10 other shoe shops; quality. Nearly every shift, at least one customer would show me the four-year-old Dune boots that they were wearing that finally needed replacing. They came back to Dune to purchase another pair of good quality boots that would last another four years. I was therefore surprised when studying Kapferer’s model named ‘PLS hierarchical confirmatory factor analysis of luxury desirability’ as it failed to explain luxury desire through a more functional purchase, that is, desiring and buying in to luxury products because of quality. The model does however explain both tangible and intangible factors driving luxury desirability, with a ‘seduction’ pathway, holding the more intangible values such as elitism and glamour creating perception of ‘prestige’ for the consumer and class and status along with creativeness creating leadership perceptions. The alternate ‘selection’ pathway holds the more tangible aspects, such as product superiority and selective distribution which create objective rarity and the ‘not for everybody’ and ‘very actual still unique’ factors creating exclusivity. I was able to relate this to Wiedman, Hennigs and Siebal’s approach to luxury desirability whereby they identify three key values; individual values, social values and functional values. The individual values relate to Kapferer’s ‘selection’ pathway and the social values relate to Kapferer’s ‘seduction’ pathway. The functional values demonstrates purchases solely down to quality as I experienced working at Dune, although Kapferer’s model fails to identify this as a path.
I was also able to link this to the functional attitude theory’s two concepts of the value-expressive function and the social-adjustive function when it comes to luxury purchases. The value-expressive function represents self-expressive people who communicate their intrinsic beliefs to others whereas the social-adjustive function represents people whose main motivation is enhancing self-presentation and gaining approval in social situations.  I was therefore able to link the value-expressive function to the more tangible pathway of selection on Kapferer’s model and therefore link the social-adjustive function to the more intangible pathway of seduction.

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