Everyone wants to understand the next generation of luxury shoppers; what brand wouldn’t want to attract young consumers and aspirational buyers who are willing to spend money on products they love, and will undoubtedly spend more over their lifetime?
In the Luxury Millennial Report we explore the luxury apparel industry as a whole, and break down which brands have the highest market share in the luxury market overall (such as Michael Kors), versus smaller luxury brands that are appealing successfully to Millennials (such as Versace). Gucci is an example of a luxury brand who manages to rank well in the online luxury market, while also pulling an impressive number of younger shoppers.
These age distinctions appear to affect the attitudes of each brand’s audience. The Versace audience (which is the mostly Millennial) is 38% more likely than the average person to agree that a designer label improves a person’s image. The Gucci audience, which also skews Millennial although not quite as high, is 25% more likely to agree. Although Michael Kors has the largest luxury market share in the US, their Millennial index is very low and their audience is surprisingly less likely to be invested in the importance of designer labels.
Younger Millennials (18-24 year olds) as an overall audience segment are 38% more likely than the average person to agree that wearing a designer label improves a person’s image. Meanwhile, older Millennials are only 2% more likely than average to agree with this notion. From there, agreement dwindles by age, which suggests that older consumers are less likely to perceive a designer label as carrying inherent social capital.
Consumer willingness to keep up with fashion trends also appears strongest with Versace, the most Millennial brand, whereas it dwindles for Gucci and particularly for Michael Kors.
That being said, the Millennial-dominated luxury brands also appear to have the least brand-loyal audiences; Versace buyers disagree strongly with the idea of sticking with a few favorite clothing brands, whereas Michael Kors brands are more likely to agree with this sentiment.
There is no silver bullet for understanding Millennial shoppers, although several patterns emerge. Millennials care more about what luxury goods say about them than the physical products themselves. They buy products to make a statement, to keep up with trends, to build social capital and to make an emotional connection to celebrities. To buy a Versace dress that Gigi Hadid wore is to feel part of her world, connected to something more glamorous than ordinary life (and of course, to capture that experience on social media). If she’s wearing a Tom Ford dress next month, then the desire will shift.
Powerhouse brands such as Gucci, who has been around for nearly a century but pushes the boundaries of experimental fashion and digital marketing, will be able to remain at the forefront of Millennial desire by constantly reinventing themselves. Meanwhile, brands like Michael Kors, who has only been around since the 1980’s yet appears to have stagnated its hold on young consumers, will struggle to capture the next generation of shoppers if its unable to connect with their unique desires.
Source: Data in this post was pulled using Hitwise Intelligence & AudienceView, based on visitors to top luxury brand websites. Top luxury brand visit share and Millennial visit share lists pulled over the month of December, 2016. Millennial visit share graph charted over the year of 2016. Age demographics and attitudes pulled over a 4-week period ending 2/18/2017.