Add your Insight
03 May 2021
More than just Brands, Status, and Exclusivity? Exploring the Luxury Experience and Luxury Experience Management
The market for luxury has been growing consistently. In 2018, the luxury segment represented an estimated $1.2 trillion but given Bain & Company’s COVID-19 driven estimates of a forthcoming year on year decline of up to 30% it is crucial to better understand the basis of value in this industry (D'Arpizio et al., 2020). To date academic research reflects the sector growth as rooted in its solid foundation of luxury goods and brands knowledge. Scholars and managers alike emphasize the ever-increasing importance of the luxury experience for understanding and catering to the luxury customer. However, understanding and exploring what constitutes the luxury experience is a challenge. By robustly stimulating the demand for luxury and, therefore, its growth, the luxury customer experience has become increasingly important for the luxury industry (Klaus, 2019).
Despite its crucial importance for the luxury sector (Deloitte, 2019), and with some early exceptions (Atwal & Williams, 2009), research exploring the luxury experience is sparse (Klaus, 2020). According to Deloitte (2019), the global luxury market comprises nine segments: personal luxury goods, luxury hospitality, luxury cruises, luxury cars, designer furniture, fine wines and spirits, fine food, private jets and yachts, and fine art. Researchers agree that hedonic motivations and associated experiences are prevalent in luxury settings, more than in any others (Husic & Cicic, 2009), which has implications for luxury brand and customer experience management (Klaus, 2018; Steenkamp, 2014). Customers desire luxury products because they want the experience which they hope the products will render to them (Holbrook 2006). CX refers to what “a customer finds unique, memorable and sustainable over time” (Pine and Gilmore 1998, p, 12), influencing customer emotions (Palmer 2010). What customers get emotional about is a prognosis of what they consider to be important (O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy 2003). Thus, emotions play a distinguishing role in customer experience (Oliver, 2014). More research exploring the role of emotions in the luxury experience, or challenging existing works on the role of emotions in the luxury customer experience is needed.
Luxury research focuses primarily on five pillars: exclusivity (e.g., Fionda & Moore, 2009), hedonics (e.g., Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2009), product quality (e.g., Vigneron & Johnson, 2004), authenticity (e.g., Beverland, 2006), and price (e.g., Parguel et al., 2016). Although becoming more important for luxury managers (Berghaus et al., 2014) and scholars (Holmqvist et al., 2019), luxury customer experience (CX) research is still underdeveloped. Most luxury CX research is either conceptual by nature (e.g., Ko et al., 2016), explores only the antecedents and the consequences of the experience, as well as related concepts (e.g., Shukla et al., 2016), or focuses on the experience’s experiential aspects rather than on a holistic conceptualization of CX (Lemon & Verhoef, 2016) or is grounded in a specific non–generalisable context (Kreuzer et al., 2019). While omni-channel retail management is becoming more and more relevant in the luxury field, truly little research explores if, and if yes, how customers use and embrace new channels (Klaus, 2020). Managerial literature does not provide any guidance in addressing this task sufficiently either (Piotrowicz and Cuthbertson 2014). Most of the insights and advice consultants and managers are offering on how to manage the luxury CX are, however, anecdotal in nature. In general, they are lacking both, rigor, and the scientific knowledge to explore what constitutes and what drives the luxury CX, leaving scholars with plenty of opportunities to contribute to advancing luxury customer experience knowledge and management.
The special issue will make a clear and significant contribution to the customer experience (CX) luxury, and consumer behaviour literature streams. CX is considered a highly significant, but still conceptually developing research construct (e.g., Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). While CX is often proposed as a context-specific construct, very little research has been conducted to test this proposition (e.g., Imhof & Klaus, 2019). Researchers agree upon that CX is driven by consumers’ emotions and emotional stages. This is in particularly true in the luxury segment (Rosenbaum et al., 2019), yet scholars submit that not all luxury contexts and segments are the same (Klaus, 2018), and both, the CX and the customers’ emotional stages are dynamic in nature and can change over time (De Keyser et al., 2015). As of today, there is to the best of our knowledge, no empirical research done to explore these dynamics, the luxury CX, and luxury customers’ motivations and benefits they are seeking. Our special issue will address and fill this important research gap.
List of sample topics
We welcome conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions (qualitative or quantitative) grounded in a range of perspectives that offer insights into the central topic of this Special Issue. These topics include, but are not limited to:
- What constitutes the luxury CX?
- Do the traditional luxury branding rules still apply in the new CX-focused luxury marketing management?
- Is the luxury segment heterogenous in nature? If yes, what is the cause of the heterogeneity (demographics, old versus new money, etc.)?
- The role of emotions in the luxury CX.
- The dynamic nature of the luxury CX.
- The customer experience of luxury.
- Exploration of the different motivations to engage in luxury consumption.
- New trends in luxury customer behavior (such as use versus possession).
- The role of sustainability in luxury CX
- The contribution and impact of technology on the luxury CX.
- From consumer to influencer, how can brands use the affiliation with luxury customers to their benefit.
- A meta-analysis of luxury research.
For more details including the reference list for this CFP, please visit the JMM blog: https://www.jmmnews.com/luxury-experience/
Looking to Publish your Research?
We aim to make publishing with Taylor & Francis a rewarding experience for all our authors. Please visit our Author Services website for more information and guidance, and do contact us if there is anything we can help with!
Authors should submit manuscripts of between 8,000–10,000 words (excluding tables, references, captions, footnotes and endnotes). All submissions must strictly follow the guidelines for JMM.
Manuscripts should be submitted below using the JMM ScholarOne Manuscripts site. Choose “Special Issue Article” from the Manuscript Type list, and when you come to the ‘Details and Comments’ page, answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue’ and select the Special Issue Title of Luxury Experience in the text field provided.