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Wealthy Collectors & Online purchases (Miami)

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Rich Shoppers Prefer Their Luxury Online

Companies that sell to the rich are always going on about the “customer experience.” They obsess over their in-store presentation, impeccable wrapping paper and velvet bows, the plush but subdued ambiance, and subtly snobby salespeople.

Today, with luxury sales down and a bleak outlook for holiday sales, luxury purveyors are being told that experience is more important than ever, since customers need to have extra incentives to buy.

The problem is, experience may not matter much. These days, wealthy shoppers have two priorities: saving time on selection and saving money on price. Both are best found online.

According to a survey of millionaire shoppers by Google and Unity Marketing, 95% of those with an income of $1 million or more made their last luxury purchase online. Fully 91% say they look at reviews before buying luxury goods.

Apparently, buying a Patek Philippe or Birkin online doesn’t devalue the brands. Fully 94% of millionaire shoppers said buying luxury online doesn’t cheapen the brand and 91% said they would like to see their favorite luxury brands online. On average, they spent $114,632 a year online for luxury goods.

“All the people we’re talking about have far more money than time,” says Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing. “Sometimes, it’s much more convenient to sit down at a computer and not have to set foot in the store.”

Of course, a study funded by Google would naturally push online sales. But a separate study by Bain & Co. also shows a jump in online luxury sales. Web sales of luxury goods rose 65% in Protected content 2006. The American affluent accounted for the 65% of global online luxury sales in Protected content .

Does this mean luxury retailers can forget the plush packages and pampering and opt for the Wal-Mart look? Of course not. The wealthy still like to feel special through the brands they buy and the store and marketing should reflect that. But especially today, the rich want to pay for quality products: not frivolous experiences.

Miami Forum