Luxury Discounts Are Double-Edged Dagger
The study, the latest in ongoing research from the Luxury Institute, surveyed men and women with more than $150,000 in annual income, and reports that 44% of these shoppers believe luxury has become a commodity. A slight majority believes there are too many luxury products in most categories.
While 28% say they have increased their overall spending on luxury goods as a result of lower prices, almost 30% say the markdowns have lowered their opinion about the products, and 25% say it makes these goods and services less appealing. Women, consumers under 55, and those with a net worth of less than $1 million are the most likely to shop because of discounts.
There's also a growing sense that these luxury goods just aren't what they used to be, and respondents say that the traits that most define luxury -- superior quality, craftsmanship, and customer service -- are worse than they were six months ago. (In fairness, respondents did say they believed marketers were doing a better job with value add-ons and loyalty programs, but these features are "are among the least important defining features," the report says.)
And while it's no surprise that most respondents have been pulling back as much as less affluent shoppers -- and 30% say luxury goods are no longer an important part of their lifestyle -- it's worth noting that 23% say that luxury goods and services are more important to them these days, and 26% say luxury goods are a prudent buy, not a splurge. And 40% believe that luxury spending is a good investment.
But overall, it turns out the Neiman Marcus crowd is as cautious as the Walmart shoppers, with more than half saying they are focusing more on what they need than what they want. While 9% have spent more on luxury products this year, 42% are spending less. And going forward, only 7% anticipate spending more overall, although 21% say they think they will spend more on discounted goods and services.
Affluent shoppers say they are most likely to increase spending on travel, dining, and health and fitness, and most likely to cut spending on jewelry, gifts, home furnishings, and watches.