It used to be that you walked into a luxury jewellery store, were treated like a gentleman or lady and left with the beautifully worked necklace, ring or watch. The experience was certainly special, for the décor and service were not like that experienced in ‘normal’ shops, yet in the main it was still a purchase like any other. The same is true of the acquisition of a luxury home or car, for you still entered a relatively normal showroom or real estate agent’s office, albeit a more elegant one.
Over the past few decades, however, the luxury market has been changing, and since the beginning of the new millennium this has increasingly led to the luxury segment of the market being experience-driven. Before, it was primarily about privileged service wrapped around the upmarket product, along with the almost aristocratic pedigree and allure of the brand. However, now the whole process is almost as much about the ‘experience’ as it is about the product itself. So, whether you buy a sports car, top designer clothing and jewellery or a luxurious home, the journey from purchase through to ultimate possession, usage and enjoyment, forms part of a single value-added experience.
Time, memories and quality
You see, factors such as quality, the finest materials and craftsmanship are no longer enough in themselves. State of the art technology is another, new facet of top-quality luxury, but today’s expression of it goes even further, beyond the product itself, to also encompass the buying process, user journey and yes, the special moments the product or service bestows its owner. Such changes must always be seen in the context of the wider age we live in, and in this case they have evolved in relation to a world with new technologies, new social attitudes, and above all, a hectic and often stress-filled lifestyle.
Time away from work is therefore more of a luxury than it once was, as is the associated chance of spending quality time with loved ones and the ability to enjoy peace and security as well as a whole range of exciting diversions. The purchaser of a yacht, car or jewellery will want the latter, as well as age-old status appeal, from his luxury possessions, but the person who acquires a property also wants to know he or she has total security, privacy and the ability to shut the world out and enjoy peace if they so desire. For this reason, in a property market such as that of Marbella, the ideal location combines easy access to diversions and amenities with a sense of private oasis – the ideal setting in which to create special experiences, moments and memories.
Changes when purchasing luxury
The elegant but rather classical luxury shops and boutiques of before have largely changed too, not just in following the trend towards modern décor, but also in the inclusion of technology and the creation of a more minimalist ‘open’ space. Shops now are less about displaying the range of products in their entirety and more about conveying the brand values of the marque – and the lifestyle experiences offered. The same is true of estate agent’s offices that look less and less like an administrative centre and more like a luxury jewellery store, a hotel lounge or even a private home.
Diana Morales Properties / Knight Frank in Marbella strives to offer its valued clients this kind of buying experience: “On the whole, it is all geared towards making the client feel comfortable, conveying a sense of modern efficiency and service, and beginning a journey that reaches its culmination with the enjoyment of the product itself,” says partner Pia Arrieta.