New Luxury Shoppers Are Younger, Web-Savvy

NEW YORK (MainStreet) –  Sales of luxury goods may be on the rise, but a different type of consumer is responsible for the uptick. According to global consulting firm Accenture, today’s luxury shopper is young, Web-savvy and on the hunt for a discount.

“While recent news of a rebound in the luxury market segment has overjoyed retailers, the facts show that the comeback may be in a very different form than we are accustomed to seeing,” said Tom Jacobson, managing director of Accenture’s pricing and profit optimization practice.

Jacobson explained that while the traditional luxury goods shopper tends to be wealthier and older, it is age rather than income that seemed to be the biggest influence on whether a consumer would spring for a high-end gift this year.

The survey found that consumers ages 25-34 were more likely to say they would buy some form of luxury present this year, with the likelihood to spend on these types of gifts declining after age 34.

But while age is the biggest factor behind who’s buying, the price — as opposed to quality, brand and store experience — ultimately determines what they buy. According to the study, 70% of those surveyed (1,003 adults aged 18 and up) said discounts can be the biggest influence on their decision.

Almost half (48%) said discounts and sales will also play a major role in which luxury items they decide to buy and where they buy them. Most consumers (26%) shop for luxury gifts online. Mass retailers (16%) and discount stores (10%) were the next popular shopping destinations for luxury this holiday, while specialty stores (4%) and luxury brand stores (3%) rounded out the bottom of the list.

According to the Accenture study, these results indicate that luxury retailers, which have traditionally shied away from offering discounts and hosting online sales for fear such tactics would drive down brand perception, may want to rethink their marketing strategy. Besides, only 1% of consumers indicated a deep discount would negatively affect their impression of a luxury product.

"While ultra-luxury retailers may still be able to play by previously well-established rules, such as avoiding online sales to engender a sense of prestige, mass-market luxury players must adapt,” Jacobson said. “More sophisticated channel and promotional strategies are going to be critical to success."

How are luxury retailers attracting holiday shoppers this year? Find out (and get your own luxury gift ideas) in MainStreet’s roundup of holiday luxury trends.

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