American Marketer


LinkedIn research: What makes consumers buy luxury products?

August 29, 2014

Tim Phang is insights analyst for Asia-Pacific marketing solutions at LinkedIn Tim Phang is insights analyst for Asia-Pacific marketing solutions at LinkedIn


By Tim Phang

Research recently conducted by LinkedIn has revealed that personal and professional life events disrupt regular purchasing patterns.

In a survey conducted among LinkedIn members, the top three reasons that triggered them to buy a luxury product were a birthday or anniversary, receiving a raise or bonus at work and an achievement such as a promotion or graduation. A change in job was the next most popular reason.

The research was conducted online via Web surveys of 2,990 LinkedIn members from the United States, Canada, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Australia, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Brazil.

The audience surveyed was generally affluent and ambitious. Out of the U.S. respondents, 42 percent earned more than $100,000, while almost half of European respondents earned more than $72,500 (U.S.).

Focusing in on Asia, half of the audience earned more than $60,000 (U.S.) in Singapore, and more than $64,500 (U.S.) in Hong Kong. They were also active and engaged with social media, with two-thirds of respondents logging in at least once a week, and approximately half following four brands or more and receiving their messages.

Looking at the worldwide audience, almost two-thirds of respondents agreed that they were highly ambitious. This is combined with a relatively optimistic view of the world, where they maintain a positive outlook about their own personal wealth.

More than three-quarters felt that financially, they were either the same or better off now than 12 months ago. Looking forward to the next 12 months, almost 90 percent believe that they would maintain their current level of wealth or be better off.

When asked about which brands were top of mind when luxury was mentioned, there was a mix of auto manufacturers, tech and consumer products companies, with BMW, Tag Heuer and Apple coming out on top.

Why buy luxury brands?
The key behind purchasing luxury products was driven by presenting a sophisticated personal brand.

More than half of the respondents in Singapore and Hong Kong found that achieving a high social status and living a lifestyle that impresses others to be important considerations.

In fact, specific to Hong Kong and Singapore, these two statements registered a greater importance compared to the rest of the world.

These respondents were 67 percent more likely to be concerned about their social status, and twice as likely to want to live an impressive lifestyle.

When considering the optimism of this audience around their own personal wealth, living a lifestyle that others potentially want to aspire to would be a real consideration.

Furthermore, more than one in three members felt that luxury goods and products help them convey a professional image and what they buy is an expression of their professional and personal identity.

Among all this, there is the feel-good factor of purchasing and owning luxury goods, with almost two-thirds of respondents worldwide saying that they like to treat themselves to something they do not need.

What does this mean for marketers?
When professional consumers reach a satisfying, yet re-occurring milestone, they are willing to reward themselves with something that tells the world that they have achieved something significant.

The key behind this mindset is how they wish to present an impressive personal brand through a combination of consumption and lifestyle choices that communicates optimism about their own personal circumstances.

Therefore, marketers of luxury goods should increase their focus on an audience that has just achieved a personal or professional milestone, and appeal to their sense of achievement and how their products are able to fulfill their aspirations.

How can marketers find the right audience?
Thinking tactically, social media is one such platform where individuals share their personal and professional milestones.

There is an opportunity for brands to establish and build a relationship with consumers before these milestones occur, so that when a life event triggers an intention to purchase luxury goods, their brand and product will be at the forefront of the audience’s consideration.

Combined with the ability to target affluent market segments that have the capacity to reward themselves, the brand messaging and content will reach the right audience with the right mindset.

Tim Phang is insights analyst for Asia-Pacific marketing solutions at LinkedIn, Singapore. Reach him at