We live in a world of constant change where our daily lives are characterised by such mega trends as digitisation, globalisation, sustainability, urbanisation, connectivity and demographic change. But what impacts are these trends having on personal lifestyles? In what way are our individual needs and values changing? And what, in consequence, do people regard as ‘luxury’ today? Answers to such questions are provided in a new study on the topic of ‘Affordable Luxury’ produced by Frankfurt-based think tank Zukunftsinstitut on behalf
The world-leading manufacturer of sanitary fittings offers a range of products based on a clearly defined set of brand values, namely quality, technology, design and sustainability. To ensure that it can meet the expectations of consumers around the globe, the company regularly analyses the trends of our time. This way it gets a head start in developing innovations, which will be part of people’s everyday lives in future.
Individualisation of luxury
In previous times, luxury was largely equated with societal status and material wealth. However, this perception has changed both globally and locally. Today, only 11 percent of Germans, 21 percent of Americans and 35 percent of Chinese consumers agree with the statement that they consider a product a luxury if it commands a particularly high price. There has been a shift in values to the extent that individual well-being and quality of life are seen as much more important than before.
People’s perceptions of luxury are linked to their individual and cultural awareness. Around the globe, health and intact social structures rank high on the list of things, which are seen as desirable in life. This paradigm shift is also evident in Sri Lanka with the multitude of so-called ‘luxury brands’ that are making inroads in to social life here. For instance condominium living, branded clothing and top-notch vehicles are part and parcel of everyday life.
In addition to this shift in values from external appearance to strengthening one’s own identity, the democratisation of luxury is another important point highlighted by the study. Many luxuries, which used to be the ‘exclusive’ to a select group of people, are today accessible to the masses. This does not mean that these things are no longer considered luxuries, given that even discerning consumers today agree that luxury does not necessarily have to come with a big price tag. This development has mainly been driven by technological progress, the general increase in wealth, globalisation and easy access to typical luxury offerings via the Internet.
GroheAG CEO Michael Rauterkus says, “We are seeing this phenomenon also with our own products. In 2008, we launched GroheOndus, the first line of digitally controlled faucets. This was an enormous breakthrough in terms of innovative technology and marked an important stage in our development. However, back then we were not yet able to manufacture this product in a way that would have made it affordable for everybody. Ten years on, in the age of smart technology, things have changed and we now offer a digital range, which is substantially different from the offering we started with.”
Living space as a luxury
The home plays a special role in people’s perception of luxury in that it is seen as a space for personal development and expression. People around the globe appreciate comfortable living spaces and maximum quality of life, viewing their home as an oasis of relaxation. When it comes to outfitting bathrooms and kitchens, ‘high quality’ is quoted as one of the most important criteria.
The GroheSensia Arena shower toilet is a product that exactly meets such expectations of contemporary luxury in the bathroom. Using only water and warm air, it provides a touch-free cleaning experience, which leaves delicate skin thoroughly refreshed rather than irritated by paper and chemicals. All settings can be personalised via a remote control or using an app. While odours are immediately extracted, non-stick surfaces combine with innovative flushing technologies to keep the toilet radiantly clean, hygienic and germ-free. As such, GroheSensia Arena meets contemporary expectations of luxury and user-friendliness while contributing to users’ health and wellbeing in a sustainable manner. Shower toilets are a relatively recent addition to the European sanitary market but have the potential to emerge as a standard category for outfitting luxurious and upmarket bathrooms.
The Grohe strategy is to offer innovative, high-quality products, which consumers perceive as relevant to their lives and as meeting their expectations in terms of intrinsic value and usefulness. This commitment is crystallised in the GroheBlue system, which delivers filtered and chilled table water straight from a special kitchen faucet. This means fewer time-consuming and fuel-guzzling trips to the grocery store; no heavy bottle packs to carry up the stairs and no need to worry about storage space for full bottles and empties.
Groheis the world’s leading provider of sanitary fittings and is available exclusively at Charter House, a unit of the AIPL Group.