For the first time, it seems, even brands that have succeeded by pursuing strategies of "great product plus major investments in image advertising" are forced to re-think this approach and many are exploring tactics more like the American packaged goods approach.

"Aspirational" or "symbolic" buyers, with household incomes of $250,000 to $500,000, are gone. And, the definition of luxury is radically changing. True luxury will continue to be distinguished by its inherent value, or by what Stanley Marcus called, "the impact of the hand" (the best the mind of man can imagine and the hand of man create).

Also, more than ever, great experiences will rate high on the value scale: rare experiences, sensually orchestrated, producing memories so precious they are actually luxury products. These include 'time out' vacations, exotic travel, sensual comforts, etc.

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