SOURCE: Luxury Institute, LLC

Luxury Institute, LLC

June 23, 2015 08:15 ET

Luxury Institute Survey of Wealthy U.S. Consumer Shows In-Store Sales Associates Wield Substantial Influence in Luxury Purchase Decisions

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - June 23, 2015) - The independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute surveyed high-income consumers about their purchase and shopping habits in seven major luxury categories. All respondents were asked about their purchase and shopping habits with respect to apparel, fashion accessories, jewelry, shoes and watches. Wealthy women were also asked about beauty products and handbags.

In most cases, only a very small minority of wealthy consumers make a purchase after researching exactly what they intend to buy. Only among men shopping for watches (28%) and women shopping for beauty products (26%) are there a significant percentage of wealthy shoppers who enter a store knowing precisely what they want to buy.

Women are much more likely than men to enter stores without doing any prior research into what they plan to buy, relying instead on what they see and experience in stores, while men usually have done some research, but also make their final purchase decisions in-store. The widest differentials are in jewelry, where 49% of women rely solely on what they experience in stores to decide on a purchase compared to 21% of men, and fashion accessories (60% of women, 40% of men).

As far as finding out about new products, men are most likely to report that visiting a store and looking at displays without help from a sales associate is the best way to learn about offerings in apparel (44%), shoes (41%), and fashion accessories (39%). Jewelry (37%) and watches (33%) are the categories in which wealthy men are most likely to say that obtaining assistance or recommendations in-store from a sales associate is the best way to learn about a potential purchase. For 38% of men, visiting a store's website or app and browsing product selections is the best way to discover and research watches, while 10% of men find email and chat with sales associates to be the preferred way to find out about both watches and jewelry.

For wealthy women, visiting stores and looking at displays without help is the best method of finding out about new products in all luxury categories, especially apparel (57%), fashion accessories (55%), shoes (54%), and handbags (53%). Browsing a store website is the second-most preferred method of shopping, with 32% of wealthy women reporting this is how they discover new products, while 23% say they do the same at manufacturer's websites. Nearly one-fifth (19%) of wealthy women prefer to learn about products in-store with a sales associate's help, particularly with beauty (29%), watches (26%), and jewelry (24%).

"With multiple points of information, wealthy consumers have become very savvy shoppers, but our findings show that brands and retailers should not underestimate the potential for sales associates to influence and drive purchase decisions," says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. "With proper training in relationship building, along with incentives to produce, store personnel can provide a significant boost to sales across luxury categories."

Survey respondents earn a minimum of $150,000 per year, with average income of $289,000, and $2.9 million average net worth.

About Milton Pedraza and Luxury Institute, LLC
Milton Pedraza is the CEO of the Luxury Institute. Over the past 12 years, Milton has established the Luxury Institute as the most trusted global luxury research provider, and the proven high performance luxury client relationships consulting firm. Known globally as the foremost resource for affluent and wealthy consumer insights and client experience best practices, the Luxury Institute has served over 1,000 global luxury goods and services brands across dozens of luxury goods and services categories.

Milton advises and coaches luxury CEOs and serves on the Boards of top-tier luxury and premium brands, and luxury startups. He is sought after worldwide for his practical, innovative and humanistic insights and recommendations on luxury and is the most quoted global luxury industry expert in leading media and publications.

Milton is also an authority on CRM Technology, Analytics and Big Data. Prior to founding the Luxury Institute, his successful career at Fortune 100 companies included executive roles at Altria, PepsiCo, Colgate, Citigroup and Wyndham Worldwide.

Milton was born in Colombia, raised in the United States, has lived in several countries, conducted business in over 100 countries, and speaks several languages.

For more information and additional insights from this survey and other research, visit www.LuxuryInstitute.com, or contact Luxury Institute CEO, Milton Pedraza, directly with questions (mpedraza@luxuryinstitute.com).

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