SOURCE: Luxury Institute, LLC

Luxury Institute, LLC

January 23, 2018 08:30 ET

Luxury Institute 2018 'State Of The Luxury Industry' Reveals What Affluent Consumers From Around The World Want From A Luxury Sales Professional

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - January 23, 2018) - On the front lines of luxury, sales professionals stand as brand ambassadors for firms from dozens of industries, including automobiles, travel, fashion, jewelry, watches, financial services, and many more. Because of the high visibility of these workers and their central role in generating revenue, companies across the luxury spectrum are redoubling their efforts to acquire, train, develop, and retain the right kind of talent. For the perspective of the luxury consumer on what constitutes an ideal salesperson and the factors that matter most, the New York-based Luxury Institute surveyed affluent consumers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, and Mexico for its 2018 State of the Luxury Industry annual report.

Based on the opinions of the people who do business with luxury firms, it's impossible to understate the importance of customer interaction. Half of affluent consumers agree that luxury brand sales professionals deliver a personalized and relationship-oriented experience. A majority (53%) of affluent consumers say that superior customer service is an essential characteristic of a luxury brand, second in popularity only to superior quality (67%) as a core element of luxury. What's more, superior customer service and lifetime product guarantees are the most important influences on luxury purchase decisions, both cited by 44% of respondents worldwide.

Regarding the required attributes of luxury sales professionals, behaving in a polite and courteous manner (57%) is the most widely cited among affluent consumers, followed closely by product expertise (55%) and trustworthiness (49%). Unfortunately for high-end firms, consumers worldwide say that recent trends are for the worse on these three fronts.

Additional essential characteristics of luxury sales professionals are experience (46%), a professional demeanor (45%), and reliability (43%). Many respondents indicated that they want in-store representatives to be welcoming (44%) and approachable (38%).

Jewelry and watches (42%), and leisure travel and hospitality (37%) are most frequently cited as industries in which the best luxury sales professionals can be found. Automotive (28%) and fashion apparel (27%) are also widely viewed as having high concentrations of superior sales professionals. Categories with the lowest percentages of consumers citing sales professionals as exemplary: real estate (14%), personal finance (18%), and designer shoes (18%).

"Luxury firms today are trying all they can to drive top-line growth, including adapting elements of artificial intelligence into their sales process, but ironically it's the application of new technology that makes the front-line human element even more critical," says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. "The replacement of robotic work underscores a rapidly emerging need for a humanistic, enlightened, high-performance worker who transcends gender, organizational type, or corporate hierarchy, one that I call the 'platinum collar worker,' because like the precious metal, platinum collar workers are catalytic, and help to create conditions for humanistic high performance within their companies, while remaining pure in ethics, and purpose."

Affluent survey respondents also provided detailed answers to questions about their relationships with luxury brands and 2018 spending plans for dozens of luxury categories. Respondents in the United States came from households with minimum gross annual income of $150,000 per year, which represents the top 11% of households ranked by income, according to the 2013 Federal Reserve Board Survey of Consumer Finances. Worldwide, respondents met or exceeded the following income levels in local currency, approximating the top 10% of earners in their respective countries: United Kingdom (£60,000); France, Germany, Italy (EUR50,000); China (1 million CNY); and Japan (¥150 million).

The complete 2018 State of the Luxury Industry is available for purchase. For complete rankings and ratings with additional insights from this and other WealthSurvey reports, visit www.LuxuryInstitute.com, or contact Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza (mpedraza@luxuryinstitute.com).

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