Luxury Institute News

August 23, 2013

Biggest risk of partnerships is brand dilution: Luxury Institute

By Erin Shea
Luxury Daily
August 22, 2013

Collaborations can sometimes be risky for luxury brands, and half of affluent shoppers say that the biggest risk for a luxury partnership is the potential damage to the brand’s image or reputation, according to the latest survey from the Luxury Institute.

Overall the study found that most affluent shoppers enjoy brand partnerships, even with the risk. However, luxury marketers should pair up with brands that have the same goals and mindset when seeking partnerships.

“Nearly half of wealthy consumers think that long-term collaborations are most effective for luxury brands,” said Meera Raja, director at the Luxury Institute, New York.

“Luxury brands should utilize partnerships not just to showcase their strengths, but also to create unique and innovative experience for consumers,” she said.

Luxury Institute surveyed consumers with a household income of at least $150,000 about the appeal and impact of brand partnerships.

Pairing up
The survey found that in addition to partnerships being the biggest risk for a brand, affluent consumers also thought that partnerships could be beneficial if done correctly.

Affluent consumers ranked joint advertising, products, events and sponsorships as the most effective types of brand collaborations.

Aston Martin partnered with Jaeger-LeCoultre to create a watch collection.

Also, consumers reported that partnerships with hotels, travel brands, fashion labels and airlines are the most fruitful.

Women are more likely to be interested in fashion, jewelry and beauty partnerships, while men seem to enjoy automotive partnerships more.

Shoppers who are older than 50 are interested in airline and cruise partnerships.

Affluent shoppers also said that they would like to see luxury collaborations between a number of brands including: Michael Kors and Apple, Chanel and Air France, and Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton.

Furthermore, affluent shoppers are not turned off by luxury brands partnering with mainstream brands. Those surveyed said they would like to see Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Bed Bath & Beyond, Gucci and Coca-Cola, and others.

Many luxury brands have engaged in partnerships with other luxury brands with similar statuses as to not hurt their brands.

For instance, spirits brand Johnnie Walker eyed affluent men through a partnership with Alfred Dunhill to create a limited-edition gift set that likely extended the reach of both brands.

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label limited edition collection by Alfred Dunhill is a collection of British-inspired gifts in addition to a designer bottle. The partnership helped both brands solidify their position in the luxury industry and as well as their reputation as men’s lifestyle brands.

Additionally, high-end smartphone manufacturer Vertu continues its six-year partnership with Italian automaker Ferrari with the release of a limited-edition Android smartphone inspired by the automaker’s design features.

The limited-edition Vertu Ti Ferrari smartphone is the latest in Vertu’s smartphone collaboration with Ferrari. By designing the smartphone to resemble the vehicle, the phone will likely appeal to a wider group of consumers (see story).

Luxury brands can gain additional exposure and attract new customers through partnerships with other luxury marketers.

“There are still many benefits of partnerships, but luxury brands must really focus on relevant opportunities with companies that share the same values,” Ms. Raja said.

http://www.luxurydaily.com/biggest-risk-of-partnerships-is-brand-dilution-luxury-institute/

August 20, 2013

Wealthy Shoppers Enjoy Brand Partnerships, But Brand Dilution Is A Risk

(NEW YORK) August 20, 2013 – The Luxury Institute surveyed consumers with a household income of $150,000 or more about the appeal and impact of brand partnerships. These wealthy consumers also shared brands that they would be excited to see partner in the future.

Half of all affluent shoppers surveyed agree that the biggest risk for a luxury firm partnering with another brand—luxury or mainstream—is damage to the brand’s image or reputation. Joint advertising, products, events and sponsorships are the most effective types of collaboration.

Among the industries where partnerships are seen as most fruitful are hotels and resorts, travel, fashion and airlines.  Women are far more likely than men to applaud fashion partnerships, as well as those involving jewelry and beauty.  Men, on the other hand, are most enthusiastic about partnerships involving automobile companies.  Affluent shoppers older than 50 are exceptionally interested in airline and cruise collaborations.

Luxury brand collaborations wealthy shoppers would like to see include Michael Kors and Apple, Chanel and Air France, and Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton.  Missoni offering its fashions at Target and Vera Wang selling at Kohl’s are two high-profile examples of luxury brands partnering with a non-luxury outfit.  Affluent shoppers would like to see additional partnerships of this ilk, including Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Bed Bath & Beyond, Gucci and Coca Cola, among others.

“Brands should partner with companies with similar values and service standards to avoid potential risks of collaboration,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “This maintains credibility and helps to ensure a consistently positive customer experience.”

About Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

August 15, 2013

Report: Even the wealthy love loyalty programs

Editorial
RetailCustomerExperience.com
August 14, 2013
In a new survey of affluent consumers by the Luxury Institute, wealthy shoppers earning at least $150,000 a year share detailed observations and evaluations of various loyalty and rewards programs, and offer suggestions for improvements to existing frequent shopper initiatives.Overall, 72 percent of wealthy consumers participate in some kind of loyalty program, with the most popular ones connected to credit cards, airlines, hotels and grocery stores. Men are significantly more likely to be members of airline and hotel rewards programs, while women are disproportionately represented in programs sponsored by grocery stores, drugstores and department stores. Previous Luxury Institute research has shown that Sephora, American Express and Amazon are the top three favorite rewards programs among affluent consumers.Very few respondents say that they belong to a luxury brand rewards program. The main perceived benefits of luxury brands’ loyalty programs are special offers and rewards, earning and redeeming points, and free goods and services. Free gifts carry more importance among women, shoppers under 50, and those with net worth less than $1 million.Satisfaction with existing loyalty programs is high and most high-income shoppers say that they have had positive experiences with their memberships. The vast majority of shoppers report that loyalty programs exert a strong influence over purchasing decisions.

http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/article/217915/Report-Even-the-wealthy-love-loyalty-programs

Bespoke Jewelry, Made With You in Mind

By Shivani Vora,
The New York Times
August 14, 2013

Temple St. Clair, a NoHo jewelry designer, has built her reputation on ready-made yellow gold amulets, which usually cost from $2,000 to $10,000 at places like Saks and Bloomingdale’s.

But when she acquired a 10-carat Burmese sapphire earlier this year on a buying trip to Asia, she knew just the client who would want to commission her to transform the rare stone into something unique. It was a woman in her 40s living in TriBeCa who already owned many of Ms. St. Clair’s signature pendants, and had a generous husband who wanted to buy her a gift to mark their 20th wedding anniversary.

After several weeks of discussion with the couple, which involved sending multiple sketches and three-dimensional molds, Ms. St. Clair created a ring for a fee, she said, of approximately $350,000. “I have always been focused on finished pieces, but personalization is a natural evolution of my brand,” she said.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes multiple quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/15/fashion/bespoke-jewelry-made-with-you-in-mind.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print

August 14, 2013

Successful Rewards Programs Prove That Even Wealthy Shoppers Like Freebies And Special Gifts

(NEW YORK) August 14, 2013 – In a new survey of affluent consumers by the Luxury Institute, wealthy shoppers earning at least $150,000 a year share detailed observations and evaluations of various loyalty and rewards programs, and offer suggestions for improvements to existing frequent shopper initiatives.

Overall, 72% of wealthy consumers participate in some kind of loyalty program, with the most popular ones connected to credit cards, airlines, hotels and grocery stores. Men are significantly more likely to be members of airline and hotel rewards programs, while women are disproportionately represented in programs sponsored by grocery stores, drugstores and department stores. Previous Luxury Institute research has shown that Sephora, American Express and Amazon are the top three favorite rewards programs among affluent consumers.

Very few respondents say that they belong to a luxury brand rewards program. The main perceived benefits of luxury brands’ loyalty programs are special offers and rewards, earning and redeeming points, and free goods and services.  Free gifts carry more importance among women, shoppers under 50, and those with net worth less than $1 million.

Satisfaction with existing loyalty programs is high and most high-income shoppers say that they have had positive experiences with their memberships.  The vast majority of shoppers report that loyalty programs exert a strong influence over purchasing decisions.

“Loyalty Programs combined seamlessly with one-to-one customer relationship building can be highly effective in driving conversion and retention while making data collection easier,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

About Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com) The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

21.6 Billion Reasons The Luxury Industry Needs Oprah And Her Friends

By Russ Alan Prince
Forbes
August 13, 2013

The Boston Consulting Group estimates that US$130 billion is spent per year on luxury fashion and accessories including US$38,000 handbags. Of course, the vast majority of goods sold are priced considerably less, and we learned even billionaires such as Oprah Winfrey hedge at such sky-high prices. She said that had she been given the chance to buy the bag, she probably would have passed.

About 90% of private jet travelers buy some type of luxury fashion and accessories annually – leather goods such as purses, wallets, briefcases and shoes – and the average spent is about US$120,000 per household. The super-rich like Ms. Winfrey likely account for around US$21.6 billion in annual purchases of gowns, skirts, suits, totes and, of course, handbags. Milton Pedraza, the CEO of The Luxury Institute, believes as many as one billion consumers worldwide purchase some type of luxury good or service, be it staying in a five star hotel or buying a luxury brand fragrance or key chain.

If you want another way to think about the luxury product purchasing power of the ultra-high-net-worth sliver of the world’s population, get out a map: Go to the South Pacific and find the 15 strong Cook Islands chain. Single out Rarotonga, a 26 square mile microdot of land that is home to the capital. Now go to North America, a continent accounting for 16% of the world’s landmass, and you will have a good idea about the relationship between the global super rich population and how much they spend. While the jewelry market is more concentrated than fashion, London based diamond house Graff’s 2012 IPO filing, for example, revealed that just 20 customers made up 44% of their US$756 million in annual sales.

Click the link below to read the entire article
http://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2013/08/13/21-6-billion-reasons-the-luxury-industry-needs-oprah-and-her-friends/

August 10, 2013

Luxury Landgrab

By Russ Banham
Washington Post
August 9, 2013

With the rise of newly affluent consumers in the Asia-Pacific capitals of Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Mumbai, and other fast-growing metropolises, ultra-luxury brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Ferrari, Hermes, BMW, Prada, and Rolex are aggressively expanding their physical footprints and shifting their marketing strategies to reach this new audience.

Most luxury brands have focused on indigenous cultural, demographic, and behavioral differences to craft regional marketing messages that inform neophyte shoppers about their brand’s value proposition, and their long heritage of fine craftsmanship, innovation, and exclusivity. “There is still some confusion regarding the identification of mid-tier brands from top-tier brands,” explains Sandilya Gopalan, vice president and Asia-Pacific practice leader at Cognizant Business Consulting. Unlike the more mature American, European, and Japanese markets, “the Chinese and Indian luxury retail markets are just getting exposed to luxury items and high-level customer service,” he says.

THE POWER OF PRESENCE ON HIGH STREET
All luxury brands leverage a customized mix of print, television, and social media to deliver their unique message to shoppers, but chief among their marketing strategies is having a shop located on the world’s priciest retail streets. “Putting luxurious flagship stores on the high streets of Asia-Pacific is critical,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute, the New York-based research and consulting firm.

Madison Avenue in New York and Michigan Avenue in Chicago are the shopping thoroughfares of the wealthy in the United States. Overseas, their counterparts are Queen’s Road Central in Hong Kong, Tokyo’s Ginza-Chuo Street, Orchard Road in Singapore, Mumbai’s Altamont Road, and Nanjing Road West in Shanghai. “The newly affluent travel a lot, and know the luxury brands from their excursions to Europe and the U.S.,” says Pedraza. “A highend store at home demonstrates the power of the brand, and is considered the top form of marketing.”

Click the link to read the entire article which includes several quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/brand-connect/wp/2013/08/09/luxury-landgrab/

July 22, 2013

Are These “Artsy” Picks Safe From e-Tailers?

By Arturo Cuevas
The Motley Fool: To Educate, Amuse, and Enrich
July 19, 2013

Investing in art and jewelry just might be too capital-intensive and/or too speculative for the average retail investor. The practical option here perhaps would be to invest in companies catering to the luxury or high-end markets like Sotheby’s or Tiffany & Co.. The U.S. economic recovery may be not as robust as many would wish, but certainly the recent fundamental strengths it exhibited, such as gains in employment and the rise in disposable incomes, augur well for these equities’ respectively iconic fine arts and jewelry.

Both companies are established brand franchises. Sotheby’s has been pounding its gavel in auction sales in global centers, while also enticing retail consumers internationally for more than two and a half centuries. The same is true for Tiffany, established 1837, whose blue box provides delight through its 115 stores across the globe, and strong online presence.

Robust stand vs. marauding Amazons

While these ladies constitute only a small segment, their preference as consumers provides an indication that the high-end domains of Tiffany and Sotheby’s are unlikely to be successfully invaded by mass market e-tailers like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). After having established a beachhead in wines recently, Amazon is now reportedly hot on the comeback trail in selling fine arts through tie-ups with galleries, a venture it tried but abandoned years back with Sotheby’s.

The element that Amazon obviously lacks is what Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza calls “relationship selling,” which when cultivated enough, can help bolster sales in both size and frequency. A majority of the elite patrons of Tiffany, for instance, appreciate handwritten thank-you notes from the jeweler’s salespersons they deal with.

When emotions rule

Such an emotional experience can be equated with the “theatrical performance,” which one

My take, therefore, is that the forays of Amazon and its ilk in taking e-tailing into high-end market, are unlikely to shake the foundations of Tiffany and Sotheby’s as investment possibilities. Those artsy investors who may even be thinking of having Amazon as an alternative pick with its reported ambitions to rejoin the art circle, are likely to be turned off by the current “nosebleed valuation” of this equity. It trades at a forward one-year P/E around the mid-90s, which seems like betting heavily on the works of a fledgling artist.

Looking more attractive, Tiffany has a forward one-year P/E ratio that barely touches the 20s, The jeweler also had an appreciable 2013 first quarter with its worldwide sales rising 9% and net profit gaining 3%. With faster growth in Asia and lower-price silver jewelry as the main primers, it expects 6-8% sales growth for this year, a pace that Wall Street sees as a return to more robust gains for the company. Notably, Tiffany is adding 14 company-operated stores this year; seven in Asia-Pacific, six in the Americas, and three in Europe.

Although Sotheby’s 2013 first quarter was a bit rougher, its one-year P/E valuation close to 18 appears inviting. For the most recent quarter the auctioneer had a 3% drop in revenues to $101.7 million, despite an increase in auction sales. Its auction commission margins, which trended lower for the quarter, have been strengthened recently to help in revenue improvement.

Conclusion: Ready for the challenge

As a final take, Sotheby’s looks ready to fend off any incursion of e-tailers like Amazon on its turf by adopting the same technological tools wielded against it. Company chairman, president and CEO Bill Ruprecht said Sotheby’s is “continuing to redefine and personalize the company’s client experience.” These initiatives, he said, include the delivery of web-based tools so that company clients across the globe can engage Sotheby’s “anywhere, at any time on any device” and access private sales shows be it in New York, London, Hong Kong, or China and elsewhere.

http://beta.fool.com/darttanyan001/2013/07/19/are-these-artsy-picks-safe-from-e-tailers/40604/

July 16, 2013

The Luxury Institute survey says Graff Diamonds and Tiffany are stand out brands

By Diamond World News Service
Diamond World
July 15, 2013

A survey conducted in the U.S. by New York based – The Luxury Institute, revealed names of Graff Diamonds and Tiffany & Co. as being ‘stand-out brands’ for the most affluent shoppers in the U.S., reports say. The survey was conducted online in April this year, with 500 consumers who had a net worth of at least $5 million.

Graff Diamonds featured as the most prestigious jewelry brand with a score of 7.98 out of 10, in reference to its products, client experience, reputation and whether the consumers would consider returning to shop at Graff again, reports say.

The survey also collected data based on gender segmentation. The ultra-wealthy women segment ranked Tiffany as the most preferred jewellery brand, with David Yurman and Cartier following next. This segment also noted these brands to be the top three in reference to ‘preferred salesman’. More than half of this female segment was impressed with handwritten thank-you notes, reports say.

http://www.diamondworld.net/contentview.aspx?item=7960″

July 15, 2013

Ferragamo Seen as Luxury Target After Loro Piana Deal: Real M&A

By Andrew Roberts and Brooke Sutherland
Bloomberg Businessweek
July 12, 2013

After LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC)’s deal for clothier Loro Piana SpA, Italian luxury companies from Salvatore Ferragamo (SFER) SpA to Tod’s (TOD) SpA may be the next targets for cash-laden conglomerates in search of growth.

After LVMH announced the $2.6 billion transaction, shares of Italian luxury retailers surged, with Ferragamo and Yoox SpA (YOOX) closing at records and Brunello Cucinelli SpA and Tod’s rising as much as 4.5 percent and 2.8 percent. Shoemakers Ferragamo and Tod’s are the most likely next targets, Equita Sim SpA said. Online retailer Yoox and Loro Piana-rival Cucinelli offer sales growth through 2015 of 88 percent and 45 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

As growth stalls at LVMH and Gucci-owner Kering (KER) SA, both conglomerates will be among the most active buyers, said Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Five years into the global economic crisis that sent the Italian economy into free fall, it was the Loro Piana family who approached LVMH about buying a stake in the maker of $10,500 cashmere cardigans to help fund expansion. Other Italian companies also may turn to buyers instead of lenders to help finance growth, said Bryan, Garnier & Co.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute:
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-07-12/ferragamo-seen-as-luxury-target-after-loro-piana-deal-real-m-and-a#p2

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