Commentary

Luxury, In The Words Of Upscale Americans

This month’s column follows up on comments we received from readers of last month’s column, “Luxury, In The Words Of Today’s 3 Major Generations,”which focused on the differences in how Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers describe luxury in response to the following question: "When you read, see, or hear the word luxury, please describe briefly what you think about." This month we focus on descriptions of luxury among the following two segments of consumers based on their spending power:

  • Affluent adults: the top 32% of adults defined by having household incomes of $100,000 or more, and
  • Wealthy adults: the top 8% of adults defined by having personal liquid assets of $1 million or more.

The word cloud that follows contains the top 20 luxury descriptions used by American adults who have household incomes of $100,000 or more. Missing from this list are four themes that were included in the top 20 (not shown here) among all Americans: classy, rich, special, and unnecessary.

More importantly, the following four themes that were not among the top 20 for all Americans are used by these higher-income Americans to describe luxury: extravagant, jewelry, top-of-the-line, and unique.

Notably, top-of-the-line, which appears in the top 20 list below, is not in the top 20 among wealthy adults as defined by personal liquid assets.

Top 20 descriptions of luxury among adults with household incomes of $100,000 or more


Red= NOT in top 20 among all American adults; 
NOT in top 20 among wealthy adults as defined by personal liquid assets

When we examined the top 20 luxury descriptions used by upscale Americans as defined by their having personal liquid assets of $1 million or more, we found that the following themes that were included in the top 20 among all American adults are not included in the top 20 among this upscale segment: classy, premium, special, and unaffordable.

The following four themes that were not among the top 20 for all Americans, though, are used by this segment of wealthy Americans to describe luxury: fancy, jewelry, nice, and unique. Also, the theme nice is not included among the top 20 among adults with household incomes of $100,000 or more.

Top twenty descriptions of luxury among adults with personal liquid assets of $1 million or more


Red= NOT in top 20 among all American adults; NOT in top 20 among affluent adults as defined by household income

All that said, these descriptions should be seen as something of a GPS for luxury marketers and their agencies, who can use them and others we have discovered to more effectively navigate the opportunities and possible pitfalls of reaching luxury buyers and prospects across the board or among specific generations. 

 

 

 

 

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