A cup of coffee can spark the same sense of luxury as a spa retreat

You don’t have to buy a yacht or go to the spa to spark a sense of luxury because a cup of coffee will do the same, concludes a new study from CBS.


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Are you tired of grey days and wet clothes after riding your bicycle to work? Perhaps dreaming of spoiling yourself with a little luxury?

Well, don’t buy that penthouse suite in Dubai or that spa retreat in Thailand just yet because according to a new study from CBS, all you have to do is find the nearest coffee shop to spark the same sense of luxury as a holiday.

”What people describe as luxury moments are in fact the small daily breaks; sipping a great cup of coffee from Starbucks or quietly reading a book at the library. You don’t need a lot of money or time to feel the luxury,” explains Thyra Uth Thomsen, Professor with special responsibilities (mso) at the Department of Marketing at CBS.

Together with researchers from Austria and Canada, Thyra Uth Thomsen and Sylvia von Wallpach, Professor mso at the Department of Marketing, have studied how 34 people experience luxury.

They are all born between the 1980s and 1990s and belong to the so-called Generation Y. 

Mud and camping can be luxurious too

According to the study, the concept of luxury has transformed from being only about expensive and unattainable objects for most people to being related to ‘the perfect experience’.

”A new book, a beautiful view or a fully stocked refrigerator are also types of luxury to integrate easily in everyday life. In fact, they can be just as significant as a long luxurious journey. So luxury is not as tied to objects and price as to the overall experience which is diffuse and momentary,” explains Thyra Uth Thomsen and adds:

”Luxury is often a unique moment or feeling and this is why even a strenuous, muddy pilgrimage or a sunset seen from under the canvas on a clear and frosty morning can be considered luxurious.”

5 types of luxury

The researchers asked the 34 participants from Denmark, Canada and Austria to bring six photos, each representing a specific moment of luxury. This phase served as the basis for their qualitative analysis showing five types of luxury:

1. Interruptions: This type of luxury was the most mentioned among the participants and is characterised by being small here-and-now moments. They differ significantly from everyday life and arise suddenly, for instance when you see a beautiful view or go to the hairdresser. 

2. Climax: These moments are in total contrast to everyday life, for instance when one of your biggest dreams of seeing a desert comes true or you have a stunning experience of nature.

3. Life-changing: Life-changing moments experienced as luxurious could be weddings or childbirths.  

4. Ritual: This type of luxury takes place when we experience recurring events related to luxury, for instance family dinners, Christmas or even weekly visits to the dry cleaner's. 

5. Conclusive: These moments often conclude a period in the life of the individual which he or she looks back on with joy and nostalgia, for instance when a holiday or an internship has ended. 

A common feature for all five types is the affiliation with many feelings. The participants described all types of luxurious moments as liberating, joyous, perfect, rare, considerate and exciting.

”Especially the sense of freedom is important to the experience of luxury and this can be achieved in the small, daily moments,” concludes Thyra Uth Thomsen. 

For more information please contact journalist Ida Eriksen

The page was last edited by: Communications // 09/02/2020