April 2005

Trading Up

Penguin Group

  • 375 Hudson Street
  • New York , NY


Why Consumers Want New Luxury Goods - And How Companies Create Them

When we think of luxury, and in particular luxury brands, we generally think of such brands as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, or even Dom Perignon. These products have come to indicate the height of sophistication, the best money can buy. Trading Up explores how today’s luxury market is evolving and explores how certain brands have positioned themselves to cater to this ever expanding market. For example, when Joe Coulombe founded Trader Joe’s he had a clear vision of who he thought would shop at his stores, well-educated, well-traveled and underpaid people. This concept has produced a chain of 177 stores with an estimated $2 billion in revenues. When Leslie Wexner, founder of The Limited, purchased Victoria’s Secret, he had a vision of bringing European luxury lingerie to the United States. He wanted to bring the quality of La Perla to the masses without the price tag. The concept worked. Women were willing to spend a little more for their underwear, opting for quality without the $100 per bra price La Perla commands.

Other brands profiled include:
Kendall-Jackson wines
Cheesecake Factory
Callaway Golf Clubs
Cadillac Belvedere

The authors go on to explain that "New Luxury" goods typically account for up to 20 percent of a category’s unit volume, 40 percent of its dollar volume, and 60 percent of its profits. They also provide a detailed account of who we are as a nation, who spends what and the reasons behind it. As a nation, we're getting married later, dating longer and waiting before having children. We also want to live well even if we don't have the means to live like a millionaire. Trading Up is a well-deserved winner of the Berry-AMA (American Marketing Association) Book Prize and an interesting read.

Reviewer: Monika Earle, FIDM Library Staff Member