Apple’s Welcoming, Inclusive Brand of Luxury

Zachary Karabell, in an article for Wired under the headline “Apple Abandons the Mass Market, as the iPhone Turns Luxury”:

As its market cap hovers near $1 trillion, Apple has gradually been shifting its strategy away from grabbing ever-more market share and focusing instead on dominating the higher end of its markets. If there were even a small doubt about that, the recent results made it screamingly clear.

When has Apple ever had a different strategy than focusing on dominating the higher end of its markets and ignoring sheer market share? The iPod — maybe — was a market share leader, depending on how you defined its category. But even with iPods Apple clearly was determined to dominate the higher end of the market.

It’s also worth noting that Apple stores are chock full of people from all walks of life. As I noted 7 years ago, Apple’s brand of luxury is mass-market luxury:

I think it’s impossible to overstate the importance of Apple’s retail business. The growth in stores — both in the number of outlets and the size and architectural prominence of the flagship locations — is a physical manifestation of Apple’s market share growth in device sales. Luxury retailers have long done this. Think about brands like Tiffany, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton. Their retail stores are physical manifestations of the brands. But Apple’s brand of luxury is mass market luxury. Apple’s stores are crowded. They’re bustling. They’re loud. And they’re inclusive, not exclusive.

It’s been a long 7 years since I wrote that, but every word remains just as true today.

Saturday, 3 November 2018