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Luxury Institute’s ‘State Of The Luxury Industry’ Survey Shows Wealthy Shoppers Around The World Crave Emotional and Human Connections With Luxury Brands

January 22, 2019

NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New insights into attitudes and purchase motivations of the world’s wealthiest shoppers comes from the Luxury Institute’s 2019 State of the Luxury Industry report, based on surveys of 3,926 affluent consumers from the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, and China. The report features country-by-country details of spending plans for the year ahead, factors influencing luxury purchase decisions, shopping channel preferences, evaluations of sales professionals, and opinions of specific brands.

When asked to define luxury, consumers often used words and phrases like “high-quality,” “expensive” and “good service” to describe the term, as well as “comfortable,” “unique” and “exclusive.”

Among the defining characteristics of a luxury brand, offering superior quality is by far the most frequently mentioned, cited by 63% of respondents worldwide. Just 30% of wealthy consumers say that quality is improving, while 11% report that quality is worse today than it was in the past.

Other qualities of luxury brands seen as essential are superior customer service (43%), design (39%), craftsmanship (36%), exclusive products (33%), and brand heritage and history (30%). Luxury consumers see the most improvement in design, while craftsmanship is often cited as worsening in recent years. Craftsmanship has drifted lower in importance since 2016, while quality and customer service for three years in a row have remained the two most widely-recognized defining luxury characteristics.

“One of the key changes in the definition of luxury is that affluent consumers are much more focused on quality and customer service than they are on the craftsmanship of physical products,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “A superior experience for the customer depends on personal interactions with a brand, and more important than the ‘wow’ experience of seeing something new and cool is the way a brand treats them as a human being.”

A majority (58%) of affluent consumers report feeling emotional connections to their favorite brands, as well as a predisposition to purchase (59%) and pay more (53%) for brands to which they have an emotional connection.

Superior customer service (45%) and lifetime product guarantees (44%) are the most popular influences on purchase decisions. Other top-five buying influences are free repairs and alterations (31%), friend or family member recommendations (29%), and return, refund and exchange policies (25%). Prior brand experience is the single most important factor when deciding whether to purchase a particular brand. This is especially true in the United States, while word-of-mouth recommendations carry more weight in China, and store displays sway decisions in Japan.

Luxury brands are showing the strongest improvements in personalizing offers and offering value add-ons, like in-store perks. In addition to value add-ons like in-store perks and personalized offers.

Regarding what they want from a luxury purchase, a vast majority of affluent consumers (72%) agree that they buy luxury items because they last longer and hold their value, and 68% say that they buy expensive items for themselves, not to show off.

Survey respondents met the following income thresholds in local currencies: United States ($150,000); United Kingdom (£60,000); France, Germany, Italy (€50,000); China (1 million CNY); and Japan (¥15 million).

The complete 2019 State of the Luxury Industry is available for purchase. For complete rankings and ratings with additional insights from this and other WealthSurvey reports, visit www.LuxuryInstitute.com, or contact Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza ( mpedraza@luxuryinstitute.com ).

Katherine Sousa: ksousa@luxuryinstitute.com

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