Luxury marketing: Demographics of luxury consumption

Bob Shullman
The Shullman Research Center

When US luxury marketers consider how to market their products and services, they need to remember that 'luxury' means different things to those they define as their target consumers. Marketers should therefore fully understand to whom they are marketing and use appropriate luxury words and descriptions in their marketing materials and advertising.

One of the challenges facing luxury brand managers today is to determine who has been buying their offerings so they can effectively market to both current and prospective customers. Consumers of luxury products and services in the United States – at present the largest luxury marketplace in the world – are typically portrayed as being very high-income or rich individuals, an exclusive and hard-to-reach target group. Our article, 'Insight into US luxury consumers' (Admap, April 2015), demonstrated that, while these high-income and rich consumers clearly constitute a valuable segment of the total luxury marketplace in the US, mass-market consumers with average incomes also form a substantial proportion of the US luxury marketplace in terms of both the number of recent buyers and the dollars they have spent on luxury products and services.