How Apple Became A Luxury Brand Without Us Realizing It

Apple products have come a long way from their beginnings in Steve Jobs's garage. The company has taken a turn away from functionality and toward extravagance, leading many consumers to wonder whether Apple is now a luxury brand. The answer, overwhelmingly, seems to be yes.

"I have always thought of Apple as a luxury brand," Greg Furman of the Luxury Marketing Council shared in an interview with CNBC. "They have the hearts and minds of today’s most affluent consumers." How was a company whose merchandise is purchased by the masses able to transform itself into an elite fashion brand? Apple has accomplished this through subtle mass marketing, slowly evolving product lines, and carefully planned price increases.

Apple's luxury brand maneuvering might have reached its apex when it released the Apple Watch in 2015, with price tags for some watch bands soaring into the thousands. Although American consumers seem to be undeterred by these changes, Apple's attachments to style and image are not doing well in some international markets. The future of the Apple "experience" remains to be determined.