Luxury Marketers: Your Best Customers May Never Visit Your Store
Luxury marketers: How can you recognize your best potential customers? Look no further than the computer, because today's best prospect for luxury brands spends more time shopping online, according to a new Unity Marketing survey among 1,614 affluent luxury consumers (avg. income $239.3k.)
"The segment of the luxury consumer market identified as 'heavy users' of the internet spent twice as much money on average buying luxury goods and services, as compared to those affluents who spent less time shopping online," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and lead researcher in the new study. The study, entitled How the Affluent Luxury Consumer Uses the Internet and Social Media: An In-Depth., found the typical luxury consumer spent some 4.2 hours shopping online per week, as compared with the heavy users who spent 9.5 hours on shopping-related activities weekly.
Besides being highly active shopping online, these consumers share key demographics which help marketers identify their best potential customers. The heavy-user is more likely to be male (although 52 percent of the heavy-users are female). He is young, often under the age of 35. He is very affluent (with an average income of around $337,000.) And, like many men, he dislikes going to the store.
"For the heavy-users who spend much more money buying luxury, the internet provides shopping experiences they value most: Speed, convenience, and 24/7 access to brands and merchandise that no single store can match. Further 55 percent of heavy users say they enjoy online shopping more than in store, as compared with 43 percent of affluents who are not classifed as 'heavy-users.'"
"These high-value customers who prefer to shop online present a challenge for traditional-minded luxury brands that have been reluctant to embrace e-commerce as an acceptable shopping alternative to the bricks-and-mortar store. But the message is clear. These ultra-affluent young people are going to shop online, so luxury retailers must meet them there ˆ with the message, information, and options these shoppers most desire ˆ or they can let those dollars flow into another brand's pocket," Danziger concludes.
About the report, How the Affluent Luxury Consumer Uses the Internet and Social Media: An In-Depth
This 59-page trend report, entitled How Affluent Luxury Consumers Use the Internet and Social Media, is based upon a survey of 1,614 affluent consumers (ag. income $239,300). It answers these critical questions for luxury marketers in order to plan their online marketing strategies, including how best to use social media for building their brand:
How often do affluent consumers use the Internet in support of luxury goods and services purchases, what do they buy online, how much do they spend?
When do they turn to the Internet and why they use it?
What are their favorite luxury websites and what specifically do they value about their favorite websites?
How do affluent luxury shoppers use social media to learn about luxury brands, share information about luxury brands, and connect with people with similar outlooks on luxury brands?
What turns them on about using the Internet for luxury purchasing and research?
A total of 1,614 affluent consumers with incomes of $100,000 or more and who bought luxury goods or services in the fourth quarter were surveyed. from January 8-27, 2010. The result of this survey are compared with findings from similar studies conducted in third quarter of 2007 and 2005, so that four years of trends in luxury consumers use of the Internet can be measured and tracked.
In addition, a segment of extremely active Internet shoppers, called 'heavy users,' have been identified in this study. A detail analysis of their responses are included in this report.
How affluents use the internet (e.g. shopping, researching purchases, getting gift ideas, connecting with friend, travel plans, etc.); total hours on a weekly basis they use the internet for personal interests and shopping-related activities.
- More about internet shopping,, such as what attracts them to a website to shop; how much they spent online; features of importance when shopping online; what features a website devoted to luxury brands must offer its customers.
- How online shopping compares to in-store, whether the affluents surveyed like online better than in-store or vice versa. The results will surprise you!
- On social media, whether they have profiles on any social media site; which social media site they use most often; how frequently they long on; how many people they are connected with; why they use social media, such as to reconnect with old friends, professional networking, to learn about brands/companies/products, etc.
- If they were connected or friends with any brand and if they were likely to become friends in the future; about their use of advertising on social media sites; and whether they use social shopping sites, such as Gilt.com, Hautelook, Rue LaLa.
Demographics of those surveyed
In the survey the average age of respondents was 45.9 years and average household income was $239,300. Nearly 20% of the affluents polled were classified as 'ultra-affluents,' those at the top 2% of U.S. households with incomes of $250,000.
Virtually all respondents use the internet for personal uses, including shopping . Further nearly 80% of affluents are social media users.
A segment called 'heavy-users' were identified as important for luxury marketers when planning internet and social media strategy. The heavy users are affluents who used the internet for four or more hours per week for shopping purposes. (Note: the average number of hours for all respondents was about 4, thus the segment of heavy users are those who spent more than the average amount of time shopping on the internet.)