American Marketer


Gens X, Y seen as top driver for future Russian luxury growth: McKinsey

June 25, 2018

Lena Perminova for Longchamp. Image credit: Longchamp


Most luxury executives in Russia are optimistic about the market’s outlook in the near future, with a new report from McKinsey finding that 85 percent expect to see growth in the next three years.

However, despite these positive projections from those in the business, only 14 percent of Russian luxury consumers are planning to up their spending. As luxury executives look to promote growth in Russia, the top expected growth driver is attracting younger consumers.

McKinsey’s “Mathematics of the Luxury Market in Russia: Growth Potential and Consume Behavior” report was based on interviews with 35 luxury executives, a survey of 1,000 luxury customers and social media analytics. The report focuses on fashion and jewelry categories.

McKinsey was reached for comment.

Millennial marketing
Six in 10 luxury executives in Russia point to millennials and Gen X consumers as key means of growth.

However, while outreach to these age groups is understood to be important, many marketers are using international rather than local insights about these shoppers to drive their efforts. Less than 10 percent have conducted studies on the young Russian luxury buyer.

For the purposes of McKinsey’s report, millennials are defined as those younger than 30, while Gen X are aged between 30 and 50.

The top three channels for both generations are online, magazines and brand events. Millennials showed a greater affinity for the Internet and events than their slightly older peers.

While social media is an important channel to reach younger shoppers, only a quarter of Russian millennials follow brands on social media, compared to 43 percent of those in Gen X.

John Varvatos recently opened in Moscow. Image credit: John Varvatos

Consumers’ friends are more apt to influence a purchase decision than celebrities. McKinsey’s survey also found that foreign stars or influencers tend to hold more weight than local personalities.

Similarly, three-quarters of the luxury conversation in Russia is tied to personal events rather than being about the brands themselves. For instance, a consumer might post about their day and tag the luxury item they are wearing in a photo.

When looking to buy luxury, product quality is the top aspect considered by both generations, with more than 90 percent saying they consider it. Luxury executives may be missing out on playing up this characteristic, as 90 percent believe millennials do not consider quality a key factor when making a purchase.

Along with quality, millennials are more moved by exclusivity and a brand’s history than Gen X, while Gen X-ers show more interest in aspects such as country of origin than millennials.

Coming home
Along with reaching out to younger clientele, luxury marketers in Russia expect the market to be driven by efforts surrounding customer loyalty and moving more purchases back home from abroad.

As brands try to lure shoppers to spend locally, they often focus on improving in-store service. However, this factor is less important to international shoppers than aspects such as the newness of merchandise.

Luxury retailers have also not been embracing the full potential of ecommerce, with only 37 percent of those surveyed planning to set up online selling.

As the Russian market has matured and become more competitive, the country’s retail sector is entering a period of optimization led by mobile purchasing and cross-border commerce, according to a new report by East-West Digital News.

According to EWDN’s “Ecommerce in Russia 2016” report, the country’s total market size for physical goods has a value of approximately $12 billion, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2015. During the market’s growth spurt, more than 30 million consumers shopped online for a total of about 195 million orders, and more than 40 percent of those orders were placed from mobile devices (see story).

While ecommerce investment is still lagging, a number of brands have recently opened new stores in Russia. For instance, French fashion label Longchamp debuted a new Moscow flagship in the Red Square in 2017, signaling Russia’s luxury resurgence (see story).

McKinsey’s report argues for the use of more advanced data analytics in Russia. By building more detailed consumer profiles, brands can better strategize to court a new consumer group or expand in the market.