Jul 8, 2020
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Rich consumers globally question reliance on luxury - Altiant study

Jul 8, 2020

Affluent consumers in some markets are beginning to question their consumption of luxury goods in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and this could have huge implications for the luxury fashion and beauty sectors.

Affluent consumers are rethinking their relationship woth luxury - Photo: Pexels/Public domain

That’s according to Altiant, the luxury and wealth research specialist that spoke to 580 consumers with household incomes of at least $400,000. Those consumers were in the US, UK, China and France and the company said it’s seeing “a big shift in mindset”.

In fact, around 38% of luxury consumers in the UK, US and in France are now questioning their consumption of luxury goods, although only 16% of  the wealthy Chinese respondents feel the same way.

Yet even though Chinese consumers seem to still be enthusiastic about reverting to their pre-Covid luxury habits, all groups “are showing strong intentions" for consuming luxury in a "more sustainable fashion", led by the Chinese segment (57%) and followed by the US (33%), France (32%) and UK (30%)”.

It’s interesting that while the Chinese remain very pro-luxury, the pandemic may well have boosted their wider interest in sustainability.

Meanwhile, this affluent population internationally has seen other changes happening during lockdowns.

These consumers have discovered new brands (50%) and although their overall budgets for shopping have fallen, they’re planning to buy more online. And they’re also planning to spend more on secondhand luxury (18%) and on rental websites (10%) in the future.

Unfortunately, their spending on fashion has dropped with fashion and accessories spend down 2%, jewellery down 5% and watches down 10%, while consumer electronics has risen 14%.

But while affluent consumers are looking at online more often, they also want to get back to stores and they said that limiting the number of customers in a store and distributing hand sanitiser and protective items at the entrance are their top comforting measures to encourage them back to a luxury retail location. In fact, more than 50% say this, while a feature such as discounts is less of a visitor traffic driver and trails in sixth position. 

Chinese consumers in particular also told Altiant that they’ll spend more in duty free luxury stores (44%) as soon as the option reopens, suggesting their interest in travel remains intact. 

And 30% of wealthy Chinese respondents said they’ll book a wellness retreat stay as soon as possible.

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