Changes in Luxury Buying Patterns from 2014 to 2015

This Insights brief focuses on the buyers of luxury products and services during 2014 and 2015 and how the luxury marketplace has changed over the course of a year. Are more consumers in the market for luxuries now? Sources for this brief are the Shullman Pulse Fall 2014 and 2015 Waves and the CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplements of the Bureau of the Census.

Household-income segment estimates for 2014 and 2015 according to the Bureau of the Census show that the total adult population grew by 3 million, and the higher household-income segments increased by 3 percentage points (or 6 million consumers) over 2014, with a corresponding decrease in the under-$75,000 mass-market segment. This brief differs from others we have produced in that it reports its insights in millions of adults (age 18+) — the potential market sizes that interest advertisers, agencies, consultants, and the media platforms that advertisers of luxury goods and services currently and potentially use.

Insights Overview:

What a difference a year makes! And that’s especially true when it comes to purchasing luxury products, as 21 million more consumers did so in 2015 than in the previous year. That increase also brought good news to the personal luxury goods market segments and, within that, the beauty category (premium fragrances and cosmetics), which was the most popular segment in 2015, enhanced by its appeal to many luxury buyers with household incomes under $75,000 (not considered by many marketers as its “usual” affluent market).

Beyond that, most other upscale categories didn’t move the needle much from 2014 to 2015, with the lone exception being luxury cruises/vacations.

Is smooth sailing ahead in 2016? There are too many imponderables right now, from the global economy, upcoming elections, and more, to make any firm predictions, but the emergence of the less-than-affluent into selective buying of luxury goods should bode well for the industry as a whole.

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