Luxury and Today’s Generational Challenges
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, in both positive and negative ways.
Beyond that, such descriptions vary widely depending on who the consumer is by income, wealth, gender, and age, as well as by behavioral and attitudinal characteristics. 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 22 descriptions of luxury as seen through the eyes of four market segments: all luxury buyers and Millennial, Gen-Xer, and Boomer luxury buyers. Their descriptions of luxury differ markedly, as is shown through six word clouds of the top luxury themes. Based on what these word clouds contain, we believe marketers of luxury goods and services would be wise to understand that luxury consumers and prospects are not alike generationally, and messaging to attract their attention and to drive sales must address those differences.
The following nine exhibits that focus on luxury buyers are included in this insights brief:
- Number of adults by generation and household income in millions
- Number of luxury buyers by generation and household income in millions
- Dollar value of most recent luxury purchase by generation
- Top twenty descriptions of luxury among all luxury buyers
- The eight luxury descriptions used by Millennial, Gen-Xer, and Boomer luxury buyers
- Top ten luxury descriptions among Millennial luxury buyers
- Top ten luxury descriptions among Gen-Xer luxury buyers
- Top ten luxury descriptions among Boomer luxury buyers
- The top twenty luxury descriptions segmented by luxury buyers by generation