Affluent millennials—buyers born between 1979 and 1993—rely on luxury brands to communicate their success
more than the two preceding generations, according to the 2011
Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America.
The study, conducted by Harrison Group and American Express
Publishing, found that 66 percent of millennials agree they look to luxury
brands to communicate to others that they are successful. Only 49 percent of
Generation Xers (ages 33–46) and 36 percent of baby boomers (ages 47–55) agreed
with that statement.
Millennials also agreed they liked
brands that helped them feel different and unique, smart, successful, trendy,
and helped them feel they owned something rare.
However, millennials are more likely to feel guilty when purchasing luxury goods. Sixty-two percent of them acknowledged guilt
when making luxury purchases, while only 44 percent of Generation X and 37
percent of boomers expressed apprehension about the same.
According to the study, 26 percent of wealthy millennials
state that they have been wealthy their entire lives, compared with 11 percent of
Generation X and 8 percent of boomers. However, most respondents still describe themselves as “middle class” at heart (82 percent of
millennials, 84 percent of Generation X, and 88 percent of boomers.)