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Accenture Study Finds Half Of U.S. Consumers Intend To Purchase Luxury Products In Next Six Months; Small Luxuries Entice Shoppers To Splurge

Half of U.S. consumers are likely to make a small luxury purchase in the next six months, including 53 percent who are likely to purchase specialty food or drinks, 48 percent to purchase luxury clothing and 48 percent to purchase luxury personal care products, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The Accenture Luxury Shopping Survey polled more than 2,000 U.S. adult consumers and found that splurging on a small luxury is the number one reason consumers buy specialty food or drinks, selected by 53 percent of those who expect to make these purchases in the coming months. Similarly, high-low fashion is the top reason shoppers shop luxury apparel. More than half (57 percent) of those who intend to purchase luxury apparel will mix a few luxury items into a wardrobe of more affordable clothing.

“As consumers show an increasing willingness to splurge on luxury, retailers and brands can build loyalty by offering a strategic selection of smaller-ticket luxury items to complement their more significant products,” said Tom Jacobson, managing director of the Accenture Pricing & Profit Optimization practice. “Consumers want a taste of luxury in their everyday lives, and are willing to spend a little extra for the experience, but the emphasis is on small items. They may think twice about purchasing a new handbag, but shop for a wallet as an alternative.”

Online Luxury Shopping Down, But Not Out

In each of the three small-product categories polled, consumers indicated a strong preference for brick-and-mortar stores when shopping for luxury goods:

  • On average, 36 percent prefer to shop in a physical store, while 19 percent prefer to shop online.
  • Among those likely to purchase luxury food and drink, half (50 percent) prefer shopping at specialty grocery stores and 40 percent like shopping at mass retailers, while only 19 percent prefer to shop at online-only retailers.
  • The top reason for shopping in physical stores is to see all the choices in person (38 percent). Nearly a third (30 percent) of shoppers in this category prefer online retailers to get the best price and one-quarter (25 percent) value the convenience of online shopping.
  • For those who are likely to make a luxury apparel purchase, more than half (58 percent) picked department stores as their top choice, compared to only 29 percent who prefer a department store’s website and 36 percent who prefer online-only retailers.
  • The top reason given for choosing the physical store is the ability to touch and feel the products, selected by 49 percent, whereas online retailers are preferred for finding the best deal (37 percent).
  • Physical stores beat online shopping two-to-one for luxury personal care products (including hair care, skin care and makeup): 44 percent of shoppers in this category prefer drug stores and 40 percent prefer department stores, compared with 22 percent who prefer online-only retailers.

The study also found that showrooming, or viewing a product in a store and then going online to make the purchase, plays an important role in luxury purchases. In the past six months, one in five consumers visited a store to experience a luxury product in person and then purchased the product online.

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