Luxury Institute News

May 22, 2014

Choose Your Luxury

One size doesn’t fit all. Today, true luxury in incentive programs is all about customization.

By: Andrea Doyle
Incentive Magazine
May 22, 2014

“Luxury continues to grow,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a New York-based independent and objective luxury research company and boutique consulting firm. “It’s growing at a rate of about 10 percent in the U.S. Plus, the luxury market will continue to grow as more people become affluent.” Pedraza references a recent prediction made by Bill Gates who surmises that, by 2035 there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.

Luxury means different things to different people. Pedraza defines it as, “the best of design, the best of quality, the best of craftsmanship, and the best of service. In other words, it’s the best of whatever is being offered in any category.”

Luxury and premium-level brands are natural motivators, he adds. “When a company wants to show its employees they are valued there is nothing that works better than a first-class travel reward or top-of-the-line products. When someone does something special, the reward ought to be special. You want that person to feel incentivized, empowered, and inspired to go on and achieve the next target, goal, or objective. You must reward the best with the best.”

Although luxury goods and travel took a hit in 2009 when the AIG fiasco erupted, that is no longer the case. “The luxury goods market has grown significantly and will continue to grow. The stigma attached to it by some in 2009 is gone,” explains Pedraza.

When a group has the opportunity to personalize a luxury product, it adds to its uniqueness and exclusivity, creating the feeling that you’re having an extraordinary experience, and eliciting the emotion of feeling special.

Customized experiences created for a certain destination or activity have added impact. Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, edging the Colorado/Utah border and billed as the world’s first and only discovery resort, offers an option for custom cowboy boot or hat fittings during horseback rides, or dinners at Red Cliff Camp. “We have Native American artists who offer beading classes where the spouses have taken home the jewelry that they made,” explains Erik Dombroski the director of sales and marketing. “We also offer a program where a photographer will document a group’s entire event, then edit it, and present a photo montage on the last night of their stay. Companies will then send a customized memory stick or digital picture frame to their attendees with the photos to remember their trip.” Gateway Canyons, created by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, features 58 guest rooms and suites, 14 Palisade Casitas and more than 12,000 square feet of event space.

See the entire article: http://www.incentivemag.com/Corporate-Gifts/Apparel-Sporting-Goods/Articles/Choose-Your-Luxury/

Spread the wealth, share!

May 7, 2014

The $99,000 Aston Martin: End Of An Era Or New Beginning?

By: Hannah Elliott
Forbes
May 7, 2014

Change has shifted into a new gear at Aston Martin, the 101-year-old bastion of posh British motorsports. And a decade from now the manufacturer of James Bond’s most famous automobile may more closely resemble its counterparts in Munich and Stuttgart than its English forebears.

Last month at the New York Auto Show the company unveiled its 2015 Vantage GT, a 430-horsepower variation of the bestselling Vantage line. What made Aston Martin’s debut so memorable was neither the strength of its V-8 engine nor the pleasing slope of the GT’s hood. It was the sticker shock.

Aston’s latest toy is the first model in decades to cost less than $100,000–in the base version, at least–and is positioned to open up a new customer for the Gaydon-based automaker. The $99,000 Vantage GT will presumably appeal to those who might have previously thought Aston Martin was out of reach.

“We’d like to sell a few more cars, and we believe this will offer an opportunity to broaden our appeal and bring more customers to the brand,” Julian Jenkins, Aston Martin’s president of the Americas, said at the show. (Last year Aston Martin sold 4,200 cars, an increase of 11%.)

The new GT, slated only for North America, is a more athletic version of the Vantage that skips luxury ornamentation and saves buyers $20,000 in the process. It maintains the sleek sculpture, halogen headlamps and interior technological trappings of the main Vantage line (those cars start around $120,000) but offers a new 4.7-liter V-8 engine that gets 10hp more than the standard Vantage and races to 60mph in 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 190mph. Buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual transmission (an ever increasing rarity) and a 7-speed automated manual gearbox. Sport exhaust and sport suspension come standard.

The Vantage, which was launched in 2005, has been Aston Martin’s most successful line, having sold more than 30,000 units to date–not a lot compared to BMW and Mercedes and not enough to keep Aston Martin exactly flush with cash. (It reported an operating profit of a mere $1.5 million in 2013.) But that hasn’t deterred the company from moving full-speed ahead into new markets. “Vantage was a tremendous success for us,” Jenkins said. “So we wanted to create another really sporty car which would appeal to the sportier buyer.”

The real trick, though, will be to position the new Vantage as a less expensive Aston without making it seem like a lesser Aston. The automaker certainly isn’t chasing the masses, but it is targeting a larger group in order to double its sales.

“You can offer an entry-level product, but you also must revamp and enhance your higher-level offerings as well,” says Milton Pedraza, founder of the Manhattan-based Luxury Institute. “Your upper-tier-level offerings must be extremely competitive, and then you’ve got to throw that halo effect continuously on your entry-level sports car.”

Click the link to see the entire article: http://http://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahelliott/2014/05/07/the-99000-aston-martin/

Spread the wealth, share!

May 4, 2014

Derek Lam Believes in Fashion for the Masses He’s part of a breed of hot designers making luxury more accessible

By: Emma Bazilian
ADWEEK
May 4, 2014

Derek Lam remembers a time when it would take years before an apparel brand was established enough to spin off a secondary line aimed at catering to the masses.
But Lam, one of the hottest designers around, is not a man who likes to wait.
He is one of a breed of contemporary fashion stars—including Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung—for whom accessible luxury is not just an afterthought but part of their DNA.

“Traditionally, the plan would have been to just stick to high-end,” Lam explains one April afternoon at his company headquarters and studio near New York’s Madison Square Park. “But I went into it saying, ‘I want to do as many different levels as possible because I want to reach a wider audience.’ It used to be that designers could sit and wait for the audience to come to them—now, they have to go to the audience.”

Lam’s lower-priced 10 Crosby line bowed in 2011, eight years after his runway debut. Lam made sure to adhere to one of the crucial tenets of a successful diffusion line: maintaining a brand identity. “I think that before, designers would do secondary lines that were maybe more derivative of their main collections,” he says. “I recognized that 10 Crosby couldn’t be just a knockoff of what I was doing [at Derek Lam]. So when we started marketing the line, we built an ideal of this 10 Crosby woman, and that was really key.”

With dresses in the $400 to $700 range, 10 Crosby is not cheap. But compared to the $3,000 to $4,000 dresses in the core Derek Lam line, it’s practically a steal. As a result, 10 Crosby is growing considerably faster than its pricier parent, says Derek Lam International CEO Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann. The number of stores carrying 10 Crosby has increased 150 percent in the last year, and the brand recently expanded into footwear. “I think the overall potential is much larger because you can sell in places where you can’t really sell [the main] collection,” Schlottmann says. As sales of luxury goods have slowed for companies like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, business has been booming further down the price ladder.

Michael Kors, which launched in 1981 and has steadily grown its lower-priced offshoot Michael Michael Kors over the last decade, enjoyed a wildly popular IPO in 2011 and last year racked up $2.2 billion in sales. Kate Spade, which lost some of its luster following a sale to Liz Claiborne in 2006, underwent a major revamp as an aspirational lifestyle brand and is now looking at a near 70 percent year-over-year bump in its stock price, on top of $1.3 billion in sales for 2013. (Incidentally, Liz Claiborne sold its namesake brand and renamed itself Kate Spade & Co.) Meantime, Tory Burch, the decade-old brand rumored to be heading toward its own IPO, is valued at some $3.3 billion.

“A smart designer understands the importance of developing a business that’s profitable but without losing that creative spirit and losing that dream of what the runway is really about,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a research and consulting firm. “They know that they need to often embrace the idea of the secondary lines to help fuel the financing of their main collection.” Consider Victoria Beckham. In 2011, the entertainer-turned-designer added a diffusion line, Victoria Victoria Beckham, to her then two-year-old main collection. Within a year, the success of the secondary label helped put her company in the black for the first time.

Of course, accessible luxury also continues to be an important enterprise for more established brands. Helmut Lang, Catherine Malandrino and Balmain have all launched diffusion lines in recent years, while Valentino has pushed its previously under-the-radar Red Valentino line. Another diffusion makeover is under way at Marc Jacobs. Last year, the designer left his post as creative director at Louis Vuitton to concentrate on both his high-end line and the more youthful Marc by Marc Jacobs, whose sales account for the majority of company revenue.

Another key factor in the growth of this space is the influence of millennials. “Young consumers are looking for quality and design, but they’re also looking for ‘new,’” says Pedraza. “They’re much more open to new and affordable brands than baby boomers.”

Considering their proximity to fashion, consumers are under more pressure to compete in the fashion space. “Even though we say we’re not a class-conscious society, this is a very status-conscious society, and these brands help elevate people who may not have a lot of money but want to show off these accessible luxury brands,” explains Pedraza. “They want that stature that comes with these products as well.”

There can be a downside to becoming too accessible, however. Flooding the market takes away from the feeling of exclusivity that makes luxury brands seem special in the first place. “Ubiquity does breed some backlash,” says Pedraza. “The problem with luxury retail is that you often don’t know where the line is until you’ve crossed it.”

See full article with quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/derek-lam-believes-fashion-masses-157455

 

Spread the wealth, share!

May 2, 2014

Luxury Institute Examines Luxe Rebound

By: Karyn Monget
Women’s Wear Daily
May 2, 2014

There are few generational divides when it concerns spending decisions and luxury goods, a report released Wednesday by The Luxury Institute revealed.

Click on the link to read the entire article(subscription required):
http://www.wwd.com/business-news/forecasts-analysis/luxury-institute-examines-luxe-rebound-7664671?module=Retail-latest

Spread the wealth, share!

Consumer Spending Trends: What Drives Luxury Purchases

New survey finds generational differences in how wealthy shoppers make luxury purchases.

By: Donald Liebenson
Millionaire Corner
May 2, 2014

What becomes a luxury brand most? A new consumer spending trends survey finds that regardless of age, superior quality and craftsmanship are the two most essential elements of a luxury brand that wealthy shoppers consider.

The Luxury Institute surveyed U.S. consumers ages 21 and up with a minimum annual income of $150,000 about what they consider to be important in luxury brand purchases and the specific triggers that motivate their spending decisions.

Six-in-ten wealthy respondents also said they consider superior customer service and design as vital attributes to a luxury purchase.

The consumer spending trends survey found generational differences in what influences luxury purchase. Millennials put a high premium on the opinions of others. Nearly seven-in-ten (68 percent) of wealthy shoppers born after 1980 ask someone they know about their experiences with a luxury purchase before buying it. The becomes less important among Gen Xers (64 percent) and Baby Boomers (58 percent).

Millennials, who came of age during the recession, are more likely than previous generations to give greater consideration to a brand’s history, a product’s uniqueness, and investment value when it comes to evaluating luxury brands. They also grew up in the digital age of online discounts. Playing into the stereotype of their generation as entitled, the survey also found the wealthy Millennials “have developed expectations that luxury brands should show their appreciation for any purchases made by providing complimentary shipping and rewards programs.”

In addition to free shipping, wealthy shoppers of all ages agree that user-friendly return policies and lifetime guarantees are the two most potent features of luxury brands that enhance the luxury shopping experience and compel them to buy from a particular merchant.

There is little generational difference in how the wealthy make their high-end purchases, according to the consumer spending trends survey. Online shopping is no pervasive enough that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials are all nearly equally as likely to have made their last luxury purchase online as in-store.

Brand websites are universally the most popular sources of information wealthy consumers use when preparing to make a luxury purchase. Three-in-ten most rely on online consumer reviews and friends and family, while 27 percent most rely on sales associates. More than three-fourths of wealthy Millennials (vs. 70 percent of Gen Xers and 67 percent of baby Boomers) say they are susceptible to being swayed by advertising. They are also much more open to receiving emails or text messages from luxury brands and sales representatives as well as using social media, mobile applications or other digital platforms to further engage with luxury brands.

Click the link to read the entire article: http://millionairecorner.com/Content_Free/Consumer-Spending-Trends-Luxury-Purchases.aspx

Spread the wealth, share!

April 30, 2014

High-Income Shoppers Reveal How, Where And Why They Like To Buy Luxury Goods

(NEW YORK) April 30, 2014 – The independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute has released the second of three multigenerational studies of U.S. consumers, 21 and older, with minimum annual household income of $150,000 per year. Respondents shared details about their most recent luxury shopping experiences, providing valuable insight into shopping behaviors unique to each generation.The age bracket for the Millennial generation ranges from 21 to 34, Generation X includes 35 to 49 year olds, and the Baby Boomer generation starts at 50.

The popularity of online purchases, even for luxury products and services, has risen dramatically. Right now it’s an even split between clicks and bricks: 43.5% of consumers surveyed saying that their last purchase was made online, and an equally-sized 43.5% also said they last bought a luxury item in a store.

Unlike the popularity of the online channel overall, growth of mobile shopping in the luxury industry remains slow. The vast majority of recent online luxury purchases were completed on a computer, and only 2% made via smartphone. Affluent Millennials have been quicker to embrace on-the-go mobile luxury shopping.

The various sources of influences consulted prior to a purchase show the biggest generational differences. They all gather information from brand websites, online consumer reviews, friends and family and sales associates, but Baby Boomers are far less likely to be swayed by advertising than younger shoppers.

Millennials prefer to conduct research in-store before purchasing online, and they are also open to receiving emails or text messages from luxury brands, or even individual salespeople. The 21 to 34 year olds are also the group most likely to engage with companies on digital platforms like social media and mobile applications.

“Luxury brands are still trying to understand how to capture the loyalty of affluent Millennials, because that really means cultivating the next generation of consumers and keeping your brand relevant,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Understanding diverse shopping behaviors of different generations of wealthy consumers is essential for catering distinct marketing strategies that resonate with each of them.”

Please visit us at www.LuxuryInstitute.com and Contact Us with any questions or for more information about specific brand data and rankings.

The Luxury Institute, LLC
luxinfo@luxuryinstitute.com

Spread the wealth, share!

Millennials value heritage more than Gen X’ers: study

By: Joe McCarthy
Luxury Daily
April 29, 2014

A new report by the Luxury Institute found that millennials scrutinize investment value and heritage of purchases more than Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers.

The study also found that millennials regularly search for one-of-a-kind items as a way to signal status. While brands often treat “showrooming” as a threat to brand integrity, the research that accompanies the trend indicates that improved customer service and responsive multichannel efforts can turn the phenomenon into a benefit and a source for more revenue.

Millennials want the heritage of the brand, they respect history, and they see it as a validation of investment value,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, New York.

“They don’t have all the money in the world, they’re just starting out, so they want to make sure they’re buying appropriately,” he said.

“But they do have much higher expectations, so that’s a little bit of a paradox. They care far more deeply about certain aspects of a luxury brands.”

This study is the first in a series of three comparatives studies of millennials, Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers by The Luxury Institute.

Click the link to read the entire article: https://www.luxurydaily.com/millennials-value-heritage-more-than-gen-xers-study/

Spread the wealth, share!

April 24, 2014

How Do Luxury Brands Build Intimate Relationships With Three Generations of Affluent Consumers?

(NEW YORK) April 24, 2014 – In the first of three studies conducted by the Luxury Institute, wealthy consumers across three generations earning at least $150,000 a year share their views on the attributes required for a brand to be considered luxury, the services that luxury brands should offer to earn consumer loyalty, and the luxury purchase decision process.

Overall, affluent Millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers all agree that the quality, craftsmanship, customer service, and design must be impeccable for a luxury brand to succeed. Millennials actually place greater emphasis on luxury brand heritage and investment value than Generation Xers, a slight surprise given the common portrayal of young consumers as embracing only the new and trendy. Affluent Millennials also highlight one-of-a-kind items as a vital component, a feature that allows them to express their individuality while also recognizing a brand’s luxury credentials.

Convenient return, refund, and exchange policies, lifetime guarantees, and free shipping are extremely important to all wealthy consumers when purchasing luxury.  Shopper expectations have risen dramatically given the practices of online only retailers who seek to capture market share from traditional retailers. As a result, affluent consumers now perceive these complimentary services as the norm, especially when spending significant amounts on luxury purchases. Millennials who grew up in the age of discounting and of being courted by brands find rewards programs as well as personalized communication and services far more desirable vs. Baby Boomers.

Given the plethora of marketing platforms utilized by brands today, younger affluent generations are more knowledgeable about luxury products and services, while Baby Boomers rely on previous experiences to impact their purchase decisions. “Even though wealthy Millennials have information and content at their fingertips, they are still more likely than Boomers, who have established preferences over the years, to seek out the opinions of others when making purchase decisions,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

Please visit us at www.LuxuryInstitute.com and Contact Us with any questions or for more information about specific brand rankings.

The Luxury Institute, LLC
luxinfo@luxuryinstitute.com

Spread the wealth, share!

March 17, 2014

Wall Street Shares Wealth, for Better or Worse

By: Martha C. White
NBC News
March 15, 2014

The $26.7 billion in bonuses that Wall Street hauled in last year will help fill city and state tax coffers, and certainly boost retailers when bankers sport Patek Phillipe wristwatches and slip into Maseratis. But all that green is a double-edged sword for New York City.

Wall Street bonuses grew by 15 percent in 2013, to an average of $164,530, according to the New York State Comptroller’s office. Milton Pedraza, CEO of research firm the Luxury Institute, estimated that Wall Streeters spend between half and three-quarters of their bonuses, then save or invest the rest, and about half the amount they spend is funneled into the local economy.

Because they spend an incredible amount of money in their jobs, “I think that spills over in their personal life,” said David Friedman, president of research and consulting company Wealth-X.

Click the link to read the entire article: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/wall-street-shares-wealth-better-or-worse-n53071

Spread the wealth, share!

March 10, 2014

Luxury Institute Reveals Wealthy Gamblers’ Rankings And Specific Critiques Of Casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City And Connecticut

(NEW YORK) March 10, 2014 – For the past two decades, casinos at top gambling resort destinations in the United States have expanded on a grand scale and competed aggressively to attract high-end travelers. To find out how these casinos are currently perceived by wealthy consumers, the New York-based Luxury Institute surveyed men and women 21 and older with a minimum household income of $150,000 to gather detailed opinions and ratings of top casino resorts in three major U.S. gambling destinations:

Las Vegas: ARIA, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Encore, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Palazzo, Venetian, and Wynn Las Vegas

Atlantic City: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Resort, Revel Casino Hotel, and Trump Taj Mahal

Connecticut: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun

Results from this 2014 Luxury Brands Status Index (LBSI) include an overall ranking of each property given eight attributes of status related specifically to casinos: luxurious guest rooms, superior service staff, unique dining options, attractive gaming floors, lavish pool areas, clubs, appealing entertainment, and desirable retail stores.

Wealthy travelers also assess each property’s worthiness of a significant price premium, and whether or not they would recommend it to family, friends and business associates.

Results show significantly higher LBSI scores for Las Vegas casinos compared to East Coast properties. One notable exception is the Borgata in Atlantic City.

“Even as more cities in the United States start to open casinos, Las Vegas is clearly still the leading destination for luxury properties, especially for affluent travelers,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “All elements of the casino, not just the gaming floors, are now crucial to create unique customer experiences.”

Respondents have average income of $370,000 and average net worth of $3.1 million.

Please visit us at www.LuxuryInstitute.com and Contact Us with any questions or for more information about specific brand rankings.

About the 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 globally 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 Customer 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.

Spread the wealth, share!
« Newer PostsOlder Posts »