What drives someone to buy luxury products

Evelina has uploaded a new video on Youtube: "How to buy your first designer bag". How to Buy Your First Designer Handbag. Evelina looks very seriously into the camera. She says she spent a long, long time saving on her first luxury bag. Two years. Then she gives tips: that the most important thing is not to choose a model that is too big. She says it very, very forcefully. You should also definitely choose a bag that can take a little something. After all, $ 2,000 or $ 5,000 is "really a lot of money." Evelina has 1.1 million subscribers on Youtube. One would like to know how many of them are starting to save now.

Many people like beautiful things. Handbags, shoes, chronographs, cashmere sweaters, cars. Many beautiful things are expensive. Very expensive. Just: why actually? At this point you can ask yourself how high the production costs of a handbag actually have to be to justify a sales price that corresponds to that of a small car. And of course you can also ask yourself why these things, of all things, are an object of longing for many people. Maybe that's not connected, the absurd price and this absurd desire.

Luxury items are an emotional matter

Barbara Evans laughs a little when you ask her these questions. Evans, 44, is the head of Facit Media Efficency, a market research institute that specializes in the emotional and neural aspects of consumer behavior. "Buying luxury items is mostly an emotional matter. Rational reasons only play a subordinate role," she says. Translated means: Anyone who buys a Chanel 2.55 - that's the one with the quilted leather and the chain strap - or a Birkin bag; Anyone who straps a watch for many thousands of euros around their wrist has left their brains out of the picture.

"Rationally speaking, one can say: there is a clear difference in quality between a handbag for 30 euros and one for 1000 euros," says Evans. "But between the € 1,000 model and the € 9,000 pocket, the difference is most likely significantly smaller." Economics calls this phenomenon decreasing marginal utility - from a certain point on, the utility increases significantly more slowly than the expenditure. The joy of the object does not grow proportionally to the sum on the invoice.

Seen in this way, says Evans, the price-performance ratio, from a purely economic point of view, can no longer be right from a certain level. Nevertheless, buying these products could also make sense: "Many luxury products primarily have a symbolic function. They demonstrate your own success." The signal goes not only to the outside world, but above all to the owner himself. You don't just buy any commodity. "Above all, you buy the feeling. That's what it's all about."

The perfect private staging

Frank Behrendt, board member at the Fischerappelt communications agency, which develops marketing strategies for companies, also sees it in a similar way for luxury manufacturers such as the watch manufacturer A. Lange und Söhne. "You hardly get any applause in the world today," says Behrendt. Company bosses praise even their best employees far too little, and those who work independently are completely alone with their success or failure. "Recognition has become something you have to take care of yourself." A sinfully expensive purchase is therefore a kind of self-praise in the form of consumption, mostly at least. Because sometimes luxury also has another function, that of social demarcation.

"Today luxury products are part of private staging," says Behrendt. There are groups of buyers who want to make their achievement as clearly visible as possible - the swank strategy, so to speak. And others who are more enthusiastic about inconspicuous luxury: for products that only the insider recognizes that they cost many times more than an average model.

How companies try to use this mixed situation can be seen very well with the coffee capsule manufacturer Nespresso, says the expert Evans. The luxurious staging there is perfect: the design and location of the stores, Hollywood star George Clooney as a glamorous testimonial and, of course, the price: "Many others also sell coffee capsules, but not the same experience."