NEW YORK: Shoppers for luxury products are increasingly cost-conscious and open to experiential marketing, according to two new surveys.

Researcher Unity Marketing polled 1,335 affluent American consumers (in the top 20% of households by income) on their attitudes towards luxury and found that 57% looked to shop during sales while 52% regularly comparison shopped.

"The old idea that 'if you have to ask the price, then you can't afford it' has been replaced by the wealthy being focused on price and getting the most bang for their buck and sometimes that means asking for a discount, looking to find the lowest price or making strategic brand substitutes to save money," Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, told Luxury Daily.

She warned that heritage luxury brands – the likes of Louis Vuitton, Mercedes and Gucci – should not be complacent when considering who their competition was.

"Luxury consumers today have the widest possible range of brands to choose from and many, many times they find that a less exclusive brand offers superior value for the money," said Danziger.

This shift in attitude meant that the perception of what constituted a status symbol was also changing. In the automotive sector, for example, male buyers were becoming less concerned about a brand's price and more about what it said about them as individuals.

So a man might opt for a Mini Cooper rather than a Porsche, for example, because he thought it was a better fit with his personality. Mini Cooper's marketers have worked hard to position it as an "endearing cultural challenger", at one point even challenging Porsche to a race, a stunt that gained widespread press coverage and social media buzz.

Separately, a survey of luxury executives by Wealth-X, the ultra high net worth (UHNW) intelligence firm, found that 90% of respondents saw experiential marketing as crucial to their brand's ability to connect with clients.

Digital marketing was widely regarded as a vehicle for brand awareness, with 84% saying they used it to raise their brand's visibility, not to increase sales or the number of clients. And 16% did not use digital marketing at all.

Social media was not greatly used either, as 53% did not include this platform in any marketing strategy.

Data sourced from Luxury Daily, Wealth-X; additional content by Warc staff