[QUOTE=Fiorenza;3693447]It seems that with the overall drop in wealth (we can argue the cause and effect, but it's happening) there is a move away from price differentiated "luxury" goods. McMansions sit empty and unwanted, your local luxury car dealer is about to close shop, Vegas hotels and Miami condos are a drug on the market. Maybe the Bvlgarys and Swarovskis have made a decision to move downmarket while upholding the branding for as long as they can get away with it.[/QUOTE
I do not necessarily disagree with your comment, Fiorenza. Indeed, for many reasons with which we could all disagree, most people have and will continue to have reductions in wealth. But, the statistics continue to indicate increasing concentration of wealth within the top tier, especially the top 1%. Therefore, with airlines beginning to see that, to survive, they will need to move pricing above current levels that are affordable for a large portion of society, the future of air travel will likely become more the domain of the well-heeled.
If this proves true, then---in fact---the upscale customers pursued by high-end vendors will be the target market traveling through most airports. So, I'm not sure that these exclusive brands are moving downscale as much as they are following the changing demographics, making themselves easily accessible to their target market for whom spending $5-8 thousand for a watch is truly an impulse or routine purchase they would make while darting through airports to their various homes, vacations, speaking engagements, business association meetings, shareholders' meetings, Board meetings, etc.
Just a thought about how we are moving to the socio-economic stratification of what we used to perceive of developing nations as a result of our national Darwinian economic policies.