High-end or Luxury

High-end or Luxury

By Alena Lien, 

18 November 2020

"High-end" is an adjective that means the most expensive of a range of products - usually of very good quality. You can also use this to describe businesses that make or sell expensive products.

"Luxury" can be used as an adjective or noun. It has a few meanings. It is the pleasure and comfort you get from expensive and beautiful things. It also means something expensive which is pleasant to have but not really necessary.

Both of these can be used to make compound nouns. For example:

  • High-end products / brands / cars.

  • Luxury products / cruise / hotel.

They're not really synonyms but they're related and often used interchangeably. So this explanation is to clarify their definitions rather than explain their language use.



1.   "High-end" means good quality, but "luxury" does not.

This is regarding their actual definitions.

According to its definition, "high-end" means high quality, which is why it's also usually the most expensive of a range of products. The assumption is you pay more for better or the best quality.

On the other hand, high quality is not in the definition of "luxury." However they are often considered to be. If you're going to pay so much for it, there is an expectation that the quality should reflect that. Additionally, many luxury brands provide excellent after-care services as a part of a high quality luxury experience.

2.   "Luxury" is usually considered unnecessary but pleasant to have.

These can be things like expensive art, diamond jewellery or a yacht.

Or things that are considered necessary but unnecessarily luxurious, like expensive bags or shoes, or even a 10-bedroom mansion for 3 residents.

On the other hand, to me, "high-end" is neither necessary or unnecessary. "High-end" is more about whether you want to invest more for a higher quality or the best quality product on the market.

Let's take computers for example. It's more common to use "high-end" to describe high quality computers in terms of performance and power. However, there are computers built with gold-plating and diamonds that would be considered "luxury."

3.   "Luxury is associated with lifestyle.

A comfortable lifestyle is usually associated with "luxury." This is about having nice things, living a comfortable life, with the time and money to enjoy what you have and can do - legally. So "luxury" is more like a way of life.

You would often see "luxury" associated with lifestyle products and services. Like houses, 5-star hotels, private planes, boats, expensive cars, expensive clothes etc.

Many businesses will use "luxury" instead of "high-end" as a kind of marketing strategy.  If we look at real estate for example, a "luxury apartment" in the US, should have a total value of US$4-5 million, and an "ultra-luxury apartment" should be worth over US$10 million. However it is a term often used to describe high-end regular apartments that are still expensive, but valued at less than $4 million.

Of course, a person with a comfortable lifestyle can and would use "high-end" products, but "high-end" is more associated with the products and services than the lifestyle or a way of life.

4.   High status is usually associated with "luxury."

Wealth, a luxury lifestyle, and a high status tend to go together.

"Luxury" is expensive, not because of its quality, but because of their name, reputation and long history that has helped them to achieve a luxury status.

Of course, a person of high status would use "high-end" products that are expensive and of good quality, but it does not have the same kind of implied lavishness.

See also: