Fewer Brand Want-To-Be’s Results in a Refocus on High End Customers

Through the beginning of this decade and right up until last year retail jewelers benefitted from the trend called affordable luxury. The trend saw more and more middle market consumers stepping up to buy more expensive luxury goods and luxury branded goods. These consumers were happy to sacrifice buying several items to splurge on just a few luxury items.  I affectionately call these brand buyers who often purchased the lowest priced items offered by the brand “want to be’s.” Evidence of the trend could be found in luxury goods that did and did not carry the brand’s logo. You see the middle market consumers who were sacrificing to be able to afford the luxury demanded the logo be prominent on the product. This represented the bottom end of the brand’s consumer market. The top end customers often preferred not to have the brand logo present. Suggesting that those who truly could afford the brand and the lifestyle it portrayed didn’t need a logo to identify the goods. These brand shoppers were so well informed they could just look at the product and tell the brand. Well both ends of the spectrum are missing as buyers these days. However, many brands today are counting on a return by the high end buyers and not expecting a near term return by the middle market. With fewer want to be’s smart luxury marketers are refocusing on their higher end customers and spending their time and effort on demonstrating value at the high end through rarity, unmateched quality and product exclusivity and impeccible service. As the chief executive of Jacques Levy said, “Luxury is about pleasure and desire. We sell the dreams more than the product.” With fewer brand want to be’s available to find your jewelry affordable what sort of luxury jewelry dreams are you conveying to your higher end customers? What sort of luxury environment is being signaled by your marketing, store interior, sales associates and merchandising?