Five Descriptions of Luxury — From the Consumers’ Points of View
To the casual observer, luxury is a word that, for most American consumers, connotes the good life of upscale products and services. But a closer examination reveals a multitude of ways in which consumers actually describe luxury, both in positive and in negative terms. Beyond that, such descriptions vary widely depending on who the consumer is. As part of our examination of what luxury means through the eyes of consumers (and not necessarily according to luxury marketers), we asked Shullman Pulse survey respondents to answer the following question: “When you read, see or hear the word luxury, please describe briefly what you think about.” Hundreds of respondents provided their descriptions, and we synthesized them into 125 discrete luxury themes.
This brief reviews thirty descriptions of luxury as seen through the eyes of five market segments: the average American adult, three upscale segments, and luxury buyers. These descriptions of luxury differ markedly, as is shown through five word clouds of the top twenty luxury themes within each segment. Based on what follows, we believe marketers of luxury goods and services would be wise to understand that all luxury consumers and prospects are decidedly not alike, and messaging to attract their attention and drive sales must address those differences.
The following five topics about what luxury means are highlighted in this Insights brief, which includes more details than this summary:
- Top twenty descriptions of luxury among all American adults
America’s Upscale Consumers
- Top twenty descriptions of luxury among American adults with household incomes of $100,000 or more
- Top twenty descriptions of luxury among American adults with personal liquid assets of $1 million or more
- Top twenty descriptions of luxury among American adults with household incomes of $100,000 or more and personal liquid assets of $1 million or more
- Top twenty descriptions of luxury among American luxury buyers