Defining Luxury - How do Asian Affluents Define Luxury - and Which Brand is Most Luxe?


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What's Luxury among Asian Affluents? Which brands express luxury the most among Asian Affluents? In the latest newsletter of Agility Research & Strategy (, we explore further what luxury means - and which brands best express luxury.

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Defining Luxury - How do Asian Affluents Define Luxury - and Which Brand is Most Luxe?

  1. 1. AGILITY RESEARCH & STRATEGY Issue 5 Luxe Poll Agility Research & Strategy 5 OCT 2012WE ARE FLUENT ON THE AFFLUENT™ IN THIS ISSUERedefining Luxury: • For Affluent Asians, luxury is all about personal rewards that can be sociallyAffluent Brands Ranking Asia • identified. Apple emerges as the topSeptember 2012 favorite brand across the key Asian economies.With the rising prominence of In this study, we asked 6 keyAsia as a region of economic questions that tested the responses on 6 different attributes of luxury –growth, Affluent Asians are self-definition, need for uniqueness,the prime target for brand perceived quality, exclusivity, socialmanagers. While Affluent Identification and self-rewardingAsians have been cautiously behavior. These attributes haveoptimistic this year, they have been closely associated with luxury and have been tested thoroughly inbeen splurging on their academic literature.favorite brands and redefiningwhat constitutes luxury. So Selected components from thehow do these consumers corresponding psychological scalesdefine luxury and what are the fed into the questions we asked. Respondents then had to select thebrands that get their share of top three statements that definewallet? luxury for them and pick their top luxury brands from a list of two-This September, Agility Research hundred and fifty luxury brands& Strategy studied the luxury across apparel, watches, technology,preferences of 2500 consumers gadgets, automobiles, holidayacross China, India, Indonesia and destinations, hotels, financial serviceSingapore in our syndicated institutions and liquor/alcoholicresearch piece – Agility Affluent beverages.Ignite™ 2012. © 2012, Agility Research & Strategy
  2. 2. AGILITY RESEARCH & STRATEGY Issue 5Affluent Asian Consumers redefine luxury innate or derived (i.e., perceived) – and exclusivity by scarcity are two components that underlie the third theme of “premium-ness”.The Asian Affluent consumer defines luxuryunder four major themes. The fourth theme – social Identification (buying the same brands as one’s referents) and self-gifting –The first two themes – need for uniqueness and defining provides us with an in-depth understanding of whatoneself through luxury resonate with the pre- luxury means to Affluent Asians.established consumer motivations behind what luxury isand what motivates the Affluent to buy luxury brands. By combining the two constructs we arrive at simple scenarios that are increasingly being depicted byThe third theme, “premium-ness” is about the perceived Affluent Asians –quality of the brand.  A 25 year old young achiever gifting herself with aHand-stitched seams on a calfskin leather bag and well-deserved Gucci handbag/watch to win theuniqueness of its design – or even simply the brand and appreciation of her like-branded social setits ability to command quality are all indicators of abrand’s perceived premium-ness amongst Affluent  A 28 year old young careerist gifting himself with thatAsians. Audi or BMW he’s been eyeing for several months now to signal how he has kept up with the rest of hisThe same was true with exclusivity achieved either cliquethrough artificial or innate scarcity.  A 23 year old career starter gifting herself with theLuxury is defined not just by premium-ness but also the new iPhone5, in addition to her new MacBook Proexclusivity it exhibits: the scarcer a brand is either and her iPad, as a self-reward for successfully crossingthrough supply or limited editions or the establishment over to the “real world” and as a symbol that “I amof financial barriers (i.e., pricing), the more exclusive and doing fine outside the four walls of the classroom!”the more premium it is seen as being. Quality – Need for Uniqueness Need to Define Oneself The 4 Themes of Luxury Premium-ness Social IdentificationTherefore, the new mantra to win over the Affluent Asian consumer lies in two simple steps – One, maintain yourbrand’s aspirational quotient so your products are viewed as personal rewards for “a job well done, a challengewell managed, a life well lived and balanced” and two, leverage on the brands’ perceptions amongst the targetconsumers’ cliques, through the most visible ways of sharing within digital social networks. © 2012, Agility Research & Strategy
  3. 3. AGILITY RESEARCH & STRATEGY Issue 5Top 10 Affluent Brands in AsiaApple vs. Samsung battle continues. Apple is the top favorite luxury brand among Affluent Asians;Samsung not far behind.Affluent Asians love Apple, Paris (as a holiday destination), BMW, Sony, Samsung and Rolex along with Canon, Audi,Mercedes Benz and Microsoft. Here are the latest topline findings of Agility Affluent Index™ – Rank Brand 1 Apple 2 Paris 3 BMW 4 Sony 5 Samsung 6 Rolex 7 Canon 8 Audi 9 Mercedes Benz 10 MicrosoftMen battle it out with women to put their favorite automobile and technology brands in the top-tenInterestingly, we observe a gender war here. While Apple is consistently voted as the most preferred brand acrossmales and females, names like Chanel, Canon, Hong Kong (as a holiday destination) and Ferrari figured in the top tenluxury brands among Affluent women. Out of these Chanel made it to the top-ten. Men preferred technology andautomobile brands like Audi, Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, Intel and voted for them more strongly than women.Therefore, three brands voted by men (as compared to one in women) - Audi, Mercedes Benz and Microsoft made itto the top-ten luxury brands that are preferred by Affluent Asians. Rank Brand (All) Brand (Males) Brand (Females) 1 Apple Apple Apple 2 Paris Paris BMW 3 BMW Sony Samsung 4 Sony BMW Paris 5 Samsung Chanel Sony 6 Rolex Canon Rolex 7 Canon Rolex Intel 8 Audi Samsung Audi 9 Mercedes Benz Hong Kong Microsoft 10 Microsoft Ferrari Mercedes Benz © 2012, Agility Research & Strategy
  4. 4. AGILITY RESEARCH & STRATEGY Issue 5China and India dominate the brand rankings while Singapore expresses differentpreferences.We understand that luxury isn’t a universal phenomenon and consumer preferences vary across different countries.However, certain countries exert their domination more strongly than others. China and India successfully do it yetagain. Six out of top-ten most preferred luxury brands across China and India figure in the overall rankings while forIndonesia it’s an even split. Singapore, being a relatively mature market has seven different brands that do not makeit to the Affluent Index. This pattern indicates the rise of China and India as the decision-makers of luxury’s futureconsumption patterns. Brand Brand Brand Brand Brand Rank (All) (China) (India) (Indonesia) (Singapore) 1 Apple Apple Apple Bali Apple 2 Paris Chanel Taj Apple Marina Bay Sands 3 BMW Paris Sony Paris Tokyo 4 Sony Rolex Intel Ferrari Shangri-La 5 Samsung BMW Paris Mercedes Benz Ritz-Carlton 6 Rolex Sony BMW Samsung Paris 7 Canon Hong Kong Microsoft Visa Samsung 8 Audi ICBC Samsung MasterCard Visa 9 Mercedes Benz Canon Google BMW RWS 10 Microsoft Shangri-la London Intel MasterCardAsia is affluent. Asia is diverse. Asia also has shifting patterns. We, at Agility Research & Strategy, capture the pulse ofthe Asian Affluent consumer. There is so much more to these consumers in terms of their preferences in specificluxury categories, their product wish lists, and the most ‘unheard’ brands among them. We will share more on theseinteresting insights soon. Till then, stay connected to the world of affluence and luxury through Agility. About Agility Research & StrategyThe Affluent Insights Poll was conducted online among 2,500 respondents in 4 countries, including China, India,Indonesia and Singapore. The respondents were representative of the online population in terms of age and gender,aged 18-64 years old.With 30 years of combined experience on the luxury market, we at Agility Research & Strategy have helped our clientsgain valuable insights on the affluent segment across verticals, whether they are trying to sell cars, hotel rooms,clothing, handbags or financial services. Through the years we have developed expertise in how to best tap into thistarget audience for our clients. Our researchers are frequently quoted and published in various media, establishing ourposition as experts and thought leaders on the luxury market. We are fluent on the Affluent™ Reach us at: email – website – phone – (65) 6396 6832 address – 300 Beach Road #14-07, The Concourse, Singapore 199555 © 2012, Agility Research & Strategy