Even in times of economic difficulties, studies have shown that more and more people are purchasing luxury goods. In the past, luxury items were indulgences of the rich only. Today, however, a growing number of middle class people with a taste for luxurious items are also frequenting luxury department stores. Last year, an estimated $275 billion was spent on luxury goods. In 2010, the amount was $255 billion. The trend shows no sign of stopping.
When it comes to luxury shopping, London, Paris, and Milan are the destinations to beat. These cities offer some of the most expensive stores in the world. As for the specific department store often considered the best scene for things luxurious and extravagant is Harrods in London. Owned by Mohammed Al-Fayed, the store is spread across a sprawling four and a half acres and seven stories in height. It offers everything, from shoe wear to luxury cars and boats. Harrods attract an average of 300,000 customers every year.
If you love to sail around the world in a super yacht, you’ll find some of the world’s most expensive at Harrods. One of the most expensive yachts ever sold in the world happened at Harrods; the sale was worth $165 million. If that’s just the kind of yacht you’re looking for, you’ll find many other astronomical offerings at Harrods. The stored has partnered with top yacht makers such as Watkins, Heesen, and Moga to provide affluent customers mega yachts worth millions of dollars.
Harrods is definitely a history maker in terms of amount of luxury items sold. Other ultra expensive items it has sold in the past include $790,000 crystal baththub, a $232, 645 Clive Christian perfume, and a $161,000 diamond-encrusted putter.
In Paris, France, Le Bon Marche along the Rive Gauche is one of the most popular shopping destinations for seekers of luxury goods. Built in 1852, Le Bon Marche is the oldest department stores. The store specializes in luxury fashion for men and women as well as upscale furniture, house ware, and gifts.
If its gustatory delight you’re after, then head to La Grande Epicerie de Paris. This gourmet store has over 5000 fine foods from around the world. What you can’t find in any grocery store, you’ll find it here. There are specialty foods from Paris, rare bottle of mineral water from Wales, exquisite tomato sauce from Naples, smoked sprats from Latvia, tangerine peel from Japan, and many more. You’ll also find famous luxury food brands such as Fauchon, Jabugo, and Fotnum and Mason, as well as an extensive collection of the finest wine, champagne, and liqueur brands.
In the US, Saks Fifth Avenue has become the bastion of grandeur. Saks has 53 stores across the country, but its New York flagship store is so large it has its own zip code. This behemoth of a store ccuppies an entire city block opposite the Rockefeller Center. As purveyor of luxury goods, Saks carries the largest names associated with luxury, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Escada.
People buy luxury goods for a variety of reasons. Some consumers prefer the high quality associated with luxury goods. For some, it gives them a sense of exclusivity. Others love the craftsmanship and precision that goes into the making of the item. These reasons all lie on the subconscious level. Luxury items make us feel good about ourselves. It gives us peer approval and recognition, status, or admiration or regard from other people.
Studies show that our purchases are driven by our hearts. Whether we purchase luxury goods for glamour, dazzle factor, feel for quality or artisanship, our choices are based on what stirs us at the emotional level. The basic definition of luxury, after all, is self-expression, the exceptional experience of an intrinsic value. When we enter a luxury department store, you immediately get this feeling – from the ambiance of the store to the service of the staff to the store decors to the actual products, everything is designed to make you feel special and entitled.
Basically, luxury items are created for affluent people, aesthetes, and people with high level of desire to possess. However, luxury is no longer just about price. It’s about what brands deliver emotional meaning through its design and function. It dazzles our sense, stirs our feelings, and stimulates us mentally.