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The new wave of luxury: the meaning and value of luxury to the contemporary consumer

Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen (University of Vaasa, School of Marketing and Communication, Vaasa, Finland)
Johanna Gummerus (Department of Marketing, Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Catharina von Koskull (University of Vaasa, School of Marketing and Communication, Vaasa, Finland)
Helene Cristini (International University of Monaco, Groupe INSEEC, Monte Carlo, Monaco)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 10 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore what luxury represents to contemporary consumers in their own life contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-methods qualitative approach was adopted that comprised individual, personal interviews and focused interviews with small groups.

Findings

The study contributes to the field of luxury research by highlighting consumers’ interpretations of luxury as highly subjective, relative and contextual; showing that according to consumers, luxury relates to both consumption and non-consumption contexts; illustrating the value of luxury as a multidimensional construct in both contexts; and demonstrating how luxury may relate to a consumer’s desire to be meaningful and genuine, thereby generating prudential value. In these cases, luxury is closely linked to consumers’ perceptions of meaningfulness and well-being.

Practical implications

For marketing managers, the findings suggest that the wave of new luxury – seeking meaningfulness – may serve as a novel means of branding.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates that the significance of the concept of luxury transcends commercial settings and offerings, i.e. the brand, product or service. The findings show that luxury may also be generated in non-commercial contexts and specific activities (e.g. running, gardening). Based on these findings, it is proposed that luxury in non-commercial settings is characteristic of the new wave of luxury, and that in such settings, luxury may contribute to personal well-being, thereby generating prudential value.

Keywords

Citation

Kauppinen-Räisänen, H., Gummerus, J., von Koskull, C. and Cristini, H. (2019), "The new wave of luxury: the meaning and value of luxury to the contemporary consumer", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 229-249. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-03-2016-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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