The Pulse of Luxury

30-day Challenge – Day 19

As long as time continues, tastes will change, new desires will emerge, and premium goods and services will be valued above their regular substitutes. However, the definition of luxury will be a moving target depending on cyclical economic patterns and societal mores on the exhibition on wealth.

I have been reading a couple of books to help my thought on luxury and they all say the same things differently. Most of those books were published in times when special circumstances were affecting the luxury market (think 2001 dot-com bust or the 2007 housing bubble).The intention of this post is to bring attention to one of those varied views on luxury, but this one is important because, unlike the books I’ve been reading, this perspective has its relevance in the now, and it is supported by empirical data.

Ipsos Mendelsohn is an international market research company ranked high in the global playing field. For the past 35 years, the company has put out its annual Affluent Survey, a study of affluent households (incomes of $100,000 or more) in the US. The survey has been a key reference for many luxury brands because it is considered a reliable measure of the pulse of the US luxury consumer.

As a side note, I will say that the definition of affluent doesn’t seem to have changed in the last 7 years. Most, if not all of the books I have been reading use the same income definition. I wonder if we should think about changing that number especially because of the effect of inflation, or the fact that some luxury items are no longer accesible by just the wealthy – but I digress.

The results of the latest Affluent Survey warrant a view not just from those currently in the industry, but also from people looking to get hired in the space. These results may not tell you what the next best innovation will be, but if you are truly passionate about serving this specific segment of consumers, it might be useful to draw upon these insights in your interviews and casual conversations with luxe professionals.

I wouldn’t recommend anything I haven’t tried, so be rest assured your reading time will be well spent on these publications. You can get the gist of the survey in two different ways:

Let me know if you see something unique or worthy of comment.

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