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Spending for quality — B+ Premium

looking for new ways of affordable expression

Written by
Chuljunsung Chuljunsung

With the natural tendency to constantly want better things in life, consumers these days do not consider cheap and lower priced items as the best products out there, even amid the economic recession. Instead, they're looking for new ways of affordable expression.

In fashion, COS is a good example. A premium version of its sister company of H&M, the brand has been successful with its more sophisticated styles all in an affordable price range. In the food industry, Hankook Yakult began selling their Cold Brew by Babinski last March, a 15% more expensive packaged drink offering fresher coffee brewed by their professional baristas. After its visible success in the market, chain cafés followed by entering the premium coffee trend. Starbucks Reserve which served premium items in a well decorated, a more upscale atmosphere is another example. Café Bene in Cheongdam-dong has redecorated the store’s interior as well, while upping the service and quality of its products by using healthier and fresher ingredients. Tom n Toms Black, Angel-in-us Specialty, Ediyah Coffee Lab and Twosome Roastery are all places marketing with an added premium experience. Its these cost-effective products and services that have created the new trend of B+ premium in the country, encompassing the food industry, to fashion and lifestyle products.

Still "fast," but just a little bit more pricy with quality ingredients is the B+ premium trend in the fast-food industry. New York’s burger joint ShakeShack has been successfully marketed in Korea while more quality pizzerias like Maddux have been taking the scene by storm. These "upgraded" versions take a large part of the fast-premium product/services trend.

Why have we begun to look at B+ Premium products? Andy Bond, the CEO of Walmart UK says it's because, “The era of conspicuous consumption is over.” What's in instead is "self-editing," an act of ridding yourself of unnecessary extravagance and going for services that balance the quality and price ratio. B+ premium products may come with a small increase in price, but their quality and originality sells.

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