American Marketer


75pc of affluent consumers will purchase apparel in coming year: Unity Marketing

June 13, 2013


Three-quarters of affluent consumers are planning on making apparel purchases during the next year, but are also becoming more price conscious, according to a new study by Unity Marketing.

"The Fashionable Affluent" trend report found that although affluent consumers plan to spend on apparel and accessories in the upcoming year, these consumers also more aware of value for the price they are paying for items. This means that luxury marketers need to deliver on their quality standards to make sure the quality meets the price of their items.

“Affluent consumers have a strong expectation for buying more fashion, both clothing and fashion accessories, in the coming year,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, Stephens, PA.“This could signal affluent consumers will be more active updating their wardrobes than they have been in the recent past.

“However, affluent consumers are becoming more price conscious when it comes to fashion,” she said. “Today, affluent consumers are even more attuned to the price and value equation, which means fashion marketers have to pay attention to both factors as well.

“Affluent shoppers can find perfectly acceptable substitutes for high-price fashion at many different stores and they aren’t reluctant to make those substitutions when the perceived value isn’t there."

Unity Marketing’s The Fashionable Affluent trend report surveyed 1,269 consumers with a household income of at least $100,000 who bought luxury goods or services in the first quarter of 2013.

Gender differences
Overall, women more actively plan fashion purchases. Eighty percent of affluent women said that they expect to buy apparel in the coming year, compared to 68 percent of affluent men.

Seventy-eight percent of the HENRY - high earnings, not rich yet - consumers and 69 percent of ultra-affluent consumers, those with a household income of at least $250,000, plan to purchase apparel in the coming year.

For fashion accessories, 64 percent of women are expecting to buy, compared to 30 percent of men.

Forty-nine percent of HENRY consumers and 51 percent of ultra-affluent consumers are planning to purchase fashion accessories in the coming year.

Gucci logo bag, a well-known fashion accessory

Since consumers across age groups said they plan to make apparel purchases, luxury brands need to remember to target all of their consumers, not just the younger consumers.

Also, both men and women plan to spend more on apparel and accessories in the coming year.

One quarter of affluent consumers said that they plan to spend more on apparel, compared to 14 percent that said they will spend less. Twenty percent said they will spend more on fashion accessories, while 11 percent said they will spend less.

Power of price
Although many luxury brands have a price-is-no-object attitude, many of their consumers seem to care about what they are receiving for their money.

Thirty-five percent of consumers said that price is the most important factor when purchasing apparel. This was the second-most reported factor compared to style or look, which 54 percent of consumers ranked as most important.

Furthermore, 27 percent of consumers said price is the most important when purchasing a fashion accessory.

While price is an important purchasing factor, many affluent consumers are conscious about buying items on sale.

More than half of affluent consumers said they have bought something on sale.

In addition, 54 percent of affluent consumers surveyed said that they mostly search for sales when they are shopping for fashion apparel or accessories.

Since affluent consumers seem to be concerned with price and value, luxury brands need to make sure they fully communicate the value of their products to their consumers.

“As we look to the future, luxury brands are going to have to do a better job of putting the substance first, before style or designer brand,” Ms. Danziger said.

“They will need to boost the overall value to command higher prices,” she said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York