When Apple uses luxury branding

Among people around you, how much have an IPhone or a product Apple? A lot. Apple products are mass-market products in the sense that a majority of people have one. Some people vow a cult to these products and others are ready to wait two days in front of an Apple store to get a new product when a new one is launched.

Why Apple is so different compared to Samsung? How the brand managed to arouse such a craze of its products and to create such a positive brand image?

To develop its brand perception, Apple applied the same codes and specific rules usually applied by the luxury brands. Apple borrows from the luxury industry its margin very significant, the high prices of products, its stores and the packaging which give the feeling to get a special product.

The first borrowed element of luxury brands is the limitation of distribution channels. Apple has its own stores to sell its products and in specialized stores, products are on separated display stands, where they are more highlighted. For instance, Samsung hasn’t its own stores. Moreover, Apple stores have the same characteristics than luxury stores. Stores are often very large, with a minimalistic design and much uncluttered. All the attention is granted on the products, there is no path and shelving as in traditional stores.

paris-apple-store apple_store_ny

The second element is the importance of the product design. Apple products are recognizable at the first sight. Design is at the heart of these products, which are often described as sophisticated and elegant. Macbook and Iphone now became standards and they dictate the rules to follow as regards of design, exactly as prestigious brands can do. The Iphone is an iconic product for Apple, as the perfume Chanel n°5 is for Chanel. Apple doesn’t seek to make similar product compared to its competitors, the brand tries to purpose unique products which are, sufficiently attractive and original to interest consumers.

Finally, every years, there are the Fashion Week for the fashion field, where houses purpose their novelties. Apple created the same concept with its “keynote”. During this convention, the brand shows new products, etc. Apple’s strategy enables the brand to be considered as one of the most unique brand compared to its competitors and a brand with a strong personality. The Aftermaths of this strategy has been very positive. Apple products are much more expansive than similar products. Now people buy a product not only for its elementary functions but also for the image that the product reflects to people. Apple succeed to reinforce its image compared to its competitors. All this cultural background of the product is essential, because it is what gives sense to the purchase and can multiply tenfold the value. Apple does not hesitate to take back the codes used by luxury brands, to build its image. While the term luxury has never been used.


Adamson Allen, (2007), Why up-branding is here to stay, Advertising Age, Vol. 78

Chen Brian X. (4/20/2015), Changing Strategy, Apple Promotes Its New Watch as a Luxury Item, New York Times.




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5 Responses to When Apple uses luxury branding

  1. bolainguec says:

    Very interesting article ! Very clear and concise. It’s an eternal debate between two fantastic brand Samsung and Apple but it’s a good thing that there are two strong competitors in this market the fight is interesting and the emergence of new strategy can make us learn a lots. Good analysis !

  2. limitlessdani says:

    It’s quite funny how Samsung-people dislike Apple people, and vice versa. I wonder why that is..

  3. saralm95 says:

    Interesting article.
    As you said, people buy Apple products because of the image, the perception of luxury. Moreover, Apple has done something that other mobile companies couldn’t do: having millions of fans, followers of this “church”. But why? Are Apple products that amazing? I do not think so.

    On the other hand, if you have an iPhone you are cool, but nowadays many people have one. So where is the exclusiveness now?

    • lvermeulen says:

      Interesting article Clarahemery !

      As you said, Saralm95 people are buying Apple’s products because of the image and the perception of luxury; but don’t you think that people are buying Apple’s products because of their performance and simplicity ? Today you can see some people with an iPhone 4 which is working perfectly and it’s almost 6 years old ! I think that people aren’t looking for exclusiveness anymore, they’re just loyal to a brand which is offering simple and secured products.

  4. idilaare says:

    Nice post! I agree, Apple has a branding strategy that focuses on the emotions of their customers. I also think that their starting point is how an Apple product experience makes you feel, and that they really know how to capture that feeling into their branding strategy.

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