Luxury Through the Eyes of the Affluent Generations

In our previous Insights brief, we looked at how all affluent adults as well as affluent men and women describe “luxury” and what they consider the #1 “luxury” brand in the world. Based on feedback from subscribers regarding that brief’s focus on gender differences, this brief continues our focus on affluent adults — those adults (age 18+) living in households whose household incomes begin at $75,000 (the top 34 percent of all households) and range to $500,000 or more — this time by looking at how three affluent generations (Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers) describe “luxury.”

Insights Overview:

Regarding how affluents describe luxury and which words get listed among their top 20 luxury descriptions, affluents in aggregate agree that the word “luxury” brings to mind “expensive,” “quality,” and “cars.” However, when it comes to describing luxury through the eyes of the three primary affluent generations, there are very distinct points of view. For example, “travel,” “classy,” and “premium” are among the Millennials’ top 20 descriptions, but not among the Gen-Xers’, who are the only generation for which “money” and “unnecessary” appear in their top 20 descriptions. In contrast, only for Boomers do “top-of-the-line” and “desirable” get included in the top 20 as descriptions of luxury. A total of 32 unique luxury descriptions were mentioned across these three generations’ top 20 lists, but only nine made it into the top 20 among all three generations.

And when we reviewed the three generations’ top 20 luxury brands in the world, automotive brands were consistently among their favorites (12 of the 26 listed in total), then came the luxury designers (11 of the 26), one consumer electronics brand, one watch brand, and one multi-line luxury retailer. Notably, of the 26 luxury brands that attained the three top 20 lists, 13 were included among the top 20 by all three generations.

The conclusion is that the three generations’ top 20 luxury brand listings represent both a clear opportunity and a challenge to luxury marketers. If your brand(s) are on these generations’ top 20 lists, your brand(s) are clearly making an impact. And if your luxury brand is not listed on any of the generations’ top 20 lists (Lincoln and Audi, for example, are both missing), it’s probably time to get your engines tuned up!

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