The luxury of expensive French brands: why such high prices?

The luxury of expensive French brands: why such high prices?

  • the socio-cultural perception of prices
French woman with luxury items

Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.

Coco Chanel
  • Luxury
  • Sophistication
  • High quality
  • Prestige
  • Elegance
  • Refinement
Luxury It describes goods and experiences higher than the ordinary in terms of quality, comfort or elegance.

  • high-end fashion products
  • decorative items
  • luxury cars
Sophistication It implies a high level of

  • craftsmanship
  • aesthetics
  • culture
High quality Cher means that the quaility is high.

  • gastronomy
  • arts
  • crafts
Prestige It means that the goods and experiences are related to

  • high status
  • social recognition
  • fame
Elegance Goods and experiences are perceived as higher than the ordinary in terms of

  • design
  • finish
  • presentation
Refinement It means that attention is focused on details, sophistication and subtlety.

  • art
  • gastronomy
  • fashion

  • the fact that most people in France greatly appreciate craftsmanship
  • the status associated with premium products
Appreciation of craftsmanship The French are very fond of craftsmanship, and as a result, it is highly valued. Handcrafted products made with time-honored know-how are highly prized.
This is especially true when special attention is paid to detail.

So when a product is considered expensive, it's an acknowledgement of

  • the effort put into its manufacture
  • the quality of its materials
  • its technical mastery
Status associated with premium products They are

  • characterized by high prices
  • associated with high social status

    A French person who consumes luxury products is perceived as

    • having succeeded professionally
    • having refined tastes
    • appreciating high quality
      So, high prices are associated with a high social status.


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      To remember – The concept of ‘expensive’ in French culture
      The connotation of luxury and quality

      • Luxury
      • Sophistication
      • High quality
      • Prestige
      • Elegance
      • Refinement
      Socio-cultural perception of high prices

    • Appreciation of craftsmanship
    • Status associated with premium products
    • The extremely expensive French prices
      • Craftsmanship
      • Brand heritage
      • Exclusivity
      Craftsmanship The French attach great importance to tradition in general. They like products made with traditional know-how. This type of product is perceived as being of superior quality, sometimes associated with art, and more durable.

      This helps to raise perceived value, in areas such as

      • art
      • fashion
      • gastronomy
      Brand heritage The major French brands insist on their history and reputation. The longer the brand's heritage, the more valuable the products are perceived to be, and therefore the more expensive they are.
      Exclusivity In general, consumers are looking for unique experiences and rare products. Consumer’s perception of exclusivity leads to a perceived increase in product value.

      3 means are used to produce this perception in consumers

      • limited editions
      • special collaborations
      • distinctive features

      • Taxes
      • Economic policies
      • Overall cost of living
      Taxes France has different VAT (Value Added Tax - Tax sur la Valeur Ajoutée (TVA)) rates for different goods and services. VAT increases the price of many products and services.

      Added to this is the fact that companies have to pay several types of taxes and social charges, which increase the cost of production. As a result, the price of the product rises.
      Economic policies There are three main types of economic policies

      • stimulus measures
      • tax reforms
      • monetary policies
      They all have consequences on inflation and economic stability in France. They can lead to higher or lower prices.
      Overall cost of living This includes

      • housing
      • daily expenses
      • utilities
      • etc.
      This has a major impact on the price of goods and services. Companies can vary their prices according to variations in the cost of living. This is because variations in the cost of living can influence consumer demand and purchasing power.

      To remember – Understanding French pricing
      French pricing are determined by

      • Craftsmanship
      • Brand heritage
      • Exclusivity
      • Taxes
      • Economic policies
      • Overall cost of living
      High costs in France

      It's all about the money.

      Joe Jackson
      Heritage and Terroir In France, authenticity is often closely linked to cultural heritage and terroir. Some products come from a specific part of France: wines, cheeses and other regional products.

      They are associated with authenticity and ancient tradition. This reinforces the product's reputation and quality, and as a result, prices rise.
      Craftsmanship The French appreciate craftsmanship in the fields of gastronomy and luxury. These are products made by hand, using traditional techniques handed down from generation to generation.

      These products are perceived as authentic. Prices are high, as creating them requires time, effort and specific skills.
      Label of origin and certification Luxury and gourmet products have specific labels of origin and certification to guarantee their authenticity.

      • les vins AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée)
      • les fromages AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée)
      This gives them a high status and justifies their high prices.
      Exclusivity and rarity Products from specific regions can be produced in small quantities. They are rare and justify a high price.
      Authenticity marketing In marketing, the more authentic and traditional a product is presented, the more popular it is with consumers. Consequently, it's an expensive product.
      Rarity and Exclusivity A limited (scarce) supply can generate strong consumer demand. This is because the product is perceived as more precious and prestigious than a mass-market product.

      The rarer the product, the more people want to buy it, and therefore the higher the price.
      Demand effect If demand for a product is high and supply is limited, the price is high. Consumers are willing to pay a lot for it.
      Perception of Value The rarer and more prestigious a product or service is perceived to be, the more expensive it is. The more consumers are willing to spend to obtain it.
      Pricing Strategy The pricing strategy is based on supply and demand. In the case of limited edition items and exclusive services, prices may be adjusted according to market fluctuations.

      This is to make more profit, while continuing to be perceived as prestigious.
      Effect of Notoriety Rarity can increase brand or product awareness. A product perceived as rare strengthens its market position, leading to higher prices.

      To remember – Factors that drive up prices in France
      Importance of origin and authenticity

      • Heritage and Terroir
      • Craftsmanship
      • Label of origin and certification
      • Exclusivity and rarity
      • Authenticity marketing
      • Overall cost of living
      Supply and demand dynamics

      • Rarity and Exclusivity
      • Demand effect
      • Perception of Value
      • Pricing Strategy
      • Effect of Notoriety
      French words: 'cher' and 'coûteux'
      Cher Cher is often used to mean that a product/service has a high cost or is considered expensive.

      Subjective: the connotation of cher is more subjective, depending on individual perception of value. It's a term that the French use in everyday life to say that something is expensive.
      Coûteux Coûteux is more formal than cher. It is generally used in more professional or academic contexts.

      Objective: coûteux has a more objective meaning, emphasizing the fact that a product or service requires a significant financial investment.
      Tone and emotional appeal Cher → is a more widely used term, and therefore more accessible to the consumer's mind, and less formal than the word coûteux. The emotional link with the word is more obvious.

      Coûteux → is more formal and objective. It assumes that the product/service is of superior quality and luxury. On the other hand, it can create an emotional distance with some consumers.
      Market segmentation Cher → can be used when a high price is presented as a positive feature, and there are many potential consumers. This is possible for high-quality but affordable products.

      Coûteux → can be associated with luxury aimed at a smaller market and which has a customer base that can pay a high price for high-end products/services.
      Pricing strategy Cher → we can use the word cher for a pricing strategy that emphasizes competitiveness and value for money.

      Coûteux → to use a high-price strategy to position its products/services as luxury items and justify a higher cost by unique or exclusive features.
      Psychological effect on perceived value Cher → to give the impression that the price is high, but justified by the quality or exclusivity of the product.

      Coûteux → can accentuate the fact that cost is a distinct feature of the product, reinforcing the perception of luxury and exclusivity.

      To remember – Cher vs coûteux: nuances in French language
      The subtle differences between the terms cher and coûteux

      • Cher → subjective
      • Coûteux→ objective
      Impact on marketing and communication

    • Tone and emotional appeal
    • Market segmentation
    • Pricing strategy
    • Psychological effect on perceived value
    • FAQ for the French words 'cher' et coûteux'

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