Enter the word “luxury” on Amazon.com and 186,975 entries materialize. Over 186 thousand books on “activity that gives great pleasure,” “an item that is desirable but not essential,” and “expensive high quality surroundings.” The staggering amount of reading material points to the fact that luxury is on the minds of many Americans; not just the über-wealthy and celebrities.
In his book, Living it Up, James B. Twitchell states that “over the last several years, luxury spending in the United States has been growing four times faster than overall spending.”
An article in Newsweek Magazine reports that the New York branding firm of Consumer Eyes has introduced the term “E-litists” to describe the “new 21st Century consumer group of upper-income, educated, environmentally conscious luxury lovers.”
According to the Luxury Marketing Council, there are now 7.5 million American households with a net worth of $1.10 million; 2 million boast a net worth of $10 to $100 million, and thousands of American households have a net worth between $100 million and $1 billion.
Who are these people? They are Seniors, Boomers and Genexers; office workers and entrepreneurs; men and women of every ethnicity and culture; in a nutshell: your target market.
They are consumers who have worked hard and feel entitled. It’s the hotel guest who notices the thread-count of the sheets and the thickness of the towels. It’s the diner who demands a properly trained server—attentive but not disruptive. It’s the fashionista who knows the difference between 2-ply and 3-ply cashmere. It’s the new mom who insists on natural-fiber baby clothing. To quote Michael Silverstein and Neil Frisk from their book, Trading Up: The New American Luxury, “On the demand side, trading up is being driven by a combination of demographic and cultural shifts that have been building for decades.”
Today’s consumer is more educated and aware than ever. And when they desire additional information or details, it’s as close as their laptop. To survive— and ultimately thrive— in this warp-speed environment, marketers have to stay one step ahead of these savvy customers.
The interest is there and their appetite is whet. Now it’s up you to anticipate, educate and make a loyal customer out of this luxury-seeking 21st Century consumer.
So how do you rein them in? Here are three tried-and -true suggestions:
- Stay on top of your industry; don’t get stale.
Make sure your brand is current and compelling. Anticipate your competition; don’t play catch-up. The luxury consumer wants to lead the pack, not follow it.
- Nurture your current relationships.
No one wants to be taken for granted, so be sure to cater to your current customer. Stay in touch, letting them know what’s new and noteworthy, and occasionally, support it with a premium.
- Enlist the help of experts in the luxury marketing field.
We are all guilty of sometimes not seeing the forest for the trees. Even the most successful businesses can use the insight and unbiased vision of an expert. The ROI on such collaborations can be quite substantial and long lasting. Firms that specialize in the luxury market, such as Verve Marketing & Design, stay on top of the trends— walking in that consumer’s designer shoes, so to speak. They monitor this booming market in all the media: from analyzing the trades to dissecting the new hit show on modern indulgences, “Dirty Sexy Money.” And chances are, the luxury-marketing professionals have read a good number of those 186,965 books! So, unless you have that ever-elusive luxury known as time, allow a specialized firm to point that well-heeled customer in your direction.