Another important effect of the changing luxury scene is the increased accessibility of luxury fashion. Luxury fashion goods are now available to more consumers as a result of two major factors. First, the luxury consumer market has expanded and there are more people that can afford luxury goods, all over the world. Secondly, the product portfolio of luxury brands has undergone a modification as several products that previously had the 'exclusivity' attribute have been diffused to include lower-priced versions. Also, luxury brands have extended their product ranges to include lower-priced items like cosmetics, fragrance, eyewear and other accessories. These goods are designed to act as the brand's introductory points for new consumers and the retentive points for old consumers. Perfumes in particular play an important role in consumer relationship with the brand. It is considered the easiest point-of-entry product into the luxury market and has the fastest growth rate. It also generates high publicity, does not consume high capital, is a source of fast profits and has a long shelf-life and rapid stock turnover. Other aspects of the product extension include goods that reflect a 'lifestyle' such as furniture, interior decoration, restaurants and hotels. This product extension has broadened the scope of interaction between luxury brands and consumers. Consequently, there are now three distinct product groups in the luxury product portfolio:
(a) Lower-priced luxury products such as make-up, cosmetics, fragrance and writing materials.
(b) Medium-priced luxury products, such as restaurants, exclusive clubs, eyewear and in some cases wristwatches.
(c) Expensive luxury products such as leather-goods, apparel, jewellery, wristwatches, special edition products, hotels and spas.
Luxury brands usually launch their product range with expensive goods like leather products, which stamp their status of luxury. However, in order to access new consumers, both old and new brands now segment their offerings to include entry-level products like cosmetics, in addition to expensive products. An example of a brand that was launched with accessible luxury products such as eyewear is American brand, Tom Ford, which also has a co-branded cosmetics range with Estee Lauder. This product launch method is known as the reverse positioning strategy. Although it is an innovative way of launching a new brand and of entering new markets, it also raises the question of its suitability for the luxury goods sector.
Accessible luxury is also being spurred by specialist stores emerging all over the world, notably in New York, Paris and London. These stores would have been considered as junk stores twenty years ago but they are currently treasure islands for luxury consumers. They stock goods ranging from vintage apparel and accessories to designer home decoration pieces and other rare knick-knacks. Some of the stores have branded themselves as 'lifestyle concept' stores. An example is Collette located on Paris' Rue Saint Honoré, which stocks goods ranging from luxury branded clothes, accessories, makeup and cosmetics, books, CDs, DVDs and other funky lifestyle 'stuff'. The store has become both an institution and a tourist attraction. It also has an underground Water Bar that serves as a fashionable meeting point for savvy consumers. Stores like Collette provide an avenue for consumers to interact with luxury brands without the intimidation that is sometimes felt in the luxury brands' own stores.
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