How Louis Vuitton Lost Its Luxury Status

1 April 2015

Rise & Fall Of Louis Vuitton’s Luxury Status as the Brand Becomes Less Exclusive

When it comes to luxury, Louis Vuitton is one of the biggest names, several times before we have ranked it first as the most luxurious brand out there, but in the recent times the overall perception has shifted.

That happened because the level of perceived value is directly correlated to how exclusive a product is and in its recent attempts to capitalize on the massive exposure the brand was getting, it lost its exclusivity by massively investing in more and more locations.

With every store they open, the company sacrifices a little more of their perceived value in exchange for profit, which might not sound like a bad deal, but on the long run it might turn the luxury product into a commodity.

Most high-end luxury brands target the super wealthy, mostly because they are recession proof, they’ll always be spending cash on status and as more and more people get their hands on Louis V. products the less appealing are for the affluent.

This trends is already highly noticed in China, which has the fastest uprising of millionaires, where the wealthy choose not to buy LV products for themselves because it is perceived as a “brand for secretaries”, thus gaining popularity with the middle class.

I don’t see anybody carrying a Gucci or Louis Vuitton bag,” Sara Jane Ho, the founder of the elite Chinese etiquette school Institute Sarita, told in a recent interview. “My clients are sophisticated. My students are the people who were buying an Hermes bag 10 years ago and holding themselves to higher standards.”

The brand’s appeal peeked in 2003 while the sales skyrocketed and it went mainstream. Since then, the Asian Elite has slowly been stepping away from it and moving towards even more high end labels such as: Hermes, Breguet, Chanel or Bottega Veneta.

Aiding to the general trend is also the massive counterfeiting, especially in Asia, where the abundance of fakes has gained mass appeal with the lower class due to the cheap pricing and the fact that they’re available anywhere. No wonder the elite are ashamed to present themselves with an original while the average grocery salesman in the market will give you back your chance from an almost visually identical fake LV wallet.

This trend has already associated terms like: fake, cheap, everywhere with a brand that was once a synonym for quality and exclusivity.

While in Japan, people buy luxury brands in order to fit in, the Chinese choose high end products so they can stand out, that’s why more and more of the wealthy class are going after bespoke and custom made items.

Louis Vuitton dropped from the “Premium Core” segment to the “Accessible Core” making it less desirable for the elite.

Bellow is a representation of the perceived value of luxury brands withing their market segment and ordered by price point in US dollars.

ealuxe ranking of luxury brands based on perceived value price point and market segment