Luxury Through the Eyes of the Affluent
This Insights brief addresses the following three questions:
1. How do all affluent adult consumers describe “luxury” in their own words?
2. What is the number one “luxury” brand in the world according to affluent consumers?
3. Do affluents’ descriptions of “luxury” and the number one “luxury” brands differ by gender?
This brief focuses on “affluent” adults (age 18+) — those adults living in households whose household incomes begin at $75,000 (the top 34 percent of all households) and range up to $500,000 or more. This brief also focuses on affluent men and women separately. Would the insights regarding “luxury” descriptions and brands as well as their rank orders be different if the household income level that defines affluence in this brief were higher (for example at the $250,000+ or $500,000+ levels)? The brands and rankings do differ, and subscribers to the Shullman Pulse have access to these insights.
When it comes to describing luxury in their own words (and not necessarily the words that luxury marketers may use), affluent men and women agree that the theme “expensive” most often comes to mind. However, when defining other attributes of luxury, as well as naming their #1 luxury brand in the world (Rolls-Royce for men; Gucci for women), there is a decided gender gap.
For example, affluent women note “jewelry,” “premium,” “best,” “and “designer,” as some of their descriptions of luxury that affluent men do not include. In the same vein, affluent men consider “top-of-the-line,” “craftsmanship,” and “desirable,” among their luxury yardsticks that affluent women do not typically consider.
That gender gap closes somewhat when it comes to the affluents’ top 20 luxury brands, with cars leading the way: Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and six other auto brands are on both genders’ lists, as well as such personal luxury stalwarts as Rolex, Louis Vuitton, and others. Beyond that, however, the genders again diverge as four favorites on the men’s list are not to be found on the women’s list.
For luxury marketers and their agencies, these gender-based insights should be seen as a battle, not “of” but rather “for” the two affluent genders, with major benefits coming to those who know how to tap into both their commonalities and their differences to further build their luxury brands.