November 29, 2005
Uberpremium vs. mere massclusivity

This month's Trendwatching newsletter focusses specifically on the increasing fascination that the very rich have with the uberpremium, as opposed to the massclusive longings that mere mortals have to contend with. What is uberpremium?

Well, for one, it's not the stuff that most members of the MASS CLASS in theory could afford, even if they'd have to actively 'trade down' for weeks or months. A Jo Malone candle selling for GBP 260 is therefore not UBER PREMIUM, but MASSCLUSIVITY. Same for Godiva's USD 100 a pound G-collection chocolates, even though they're billed as the chocolatier's ultra-premium, couture-style line of hand-made bonbons. It's not Dolce & Gabbana 's crystal-studded Mickey T-shirt, retailing for USD 1,400. It's also not Masa's USD 350 tasting menu, or Gordon Ramsay's new GBP 100 woodfire-baked pizza topped with shavings from a USD 1,400 Umbrian white truffle. Not even over the top A.P.O. Jeans, which can cost up to USD 1,000 a pair, qualify. So... UBER PREMIUM is everything that is truly out of reach of the vast majority of consumers. Not just financially, but also by not being invited, or by being too late. No wonder then that UBER PREMIUM is increasingly found in the experience part of the economy: an exclusive personal experience can provide for hard-to-imitate uniqueness in ways physical (and uniform) products can't.

For more, read here.



Very interesting piece, but my comment/question is: if this "uber wealthy" segment is setting themselves so far apart from the "massclusivity", how are they achieving this online? What websites do they go to that is inline with making them feel "uber" exclusive apart from the masses online?


Reet, a very good question. While it's easy to see how the service economy can morph into pleasing these "uberpremium" customers through morphing into an experience economy, how do you achieve that exclusivity online? Certainly there are ways to provide subscription sites that only people who pay an "uberpremium" can see--subscription content, more or less. But this is the model used by porn sites, and I'm assuming that isn't "uberpremium."

Is the pervasiveness of the Web one place where secluding one's self into an "uberpremium" experience is not really available? Is this just a utopian dream of evening the ground of socioeconomic differences, though? Or is the technology just not there yet to provide the "uberpremium" experience?

Of course, if you look at the vast majority of people in the world who don't have any Internet at all, much less broadband, I guess you could make the argument that high-speed access is an uberpremium on its own.