Luxury Institute News

December 25, 2013

Post-Twitter IPO: “Suddenly everyone thinks you’re Santa Claus”

By Mark Garrisson
Marketplace
December 24, 2013

Twitter may be the most famous company to go public this year, but 2013 was a monster year for IPOs in general.

And initial public offerings can bring big money to employees, on paper at least. Things can get a little awkward this time of year for the newly-rich, as certain friends and family members raise their holiday gift expectations. Strike it rich with an IPO, and suddenly everyone thinks you’re Santa Claus.

“You find you have relatives and friends you never knew you had,” says Doug Wolford, president and COO of Convergent Wealth Advisors. “I’ve known people whose friends have, you know, asked them to pay off their cars, take them on trips to the Super Bowl, you name it.”

Pressure to spend big is intense and not all external.

“The individuals themselves begin to feel guilty, feel like they do have to step in and solve a lot of the problems for the people they love. So it’s kind of a two-sided issue” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/post-twitter-ipo-suddenly-everyone-thinks-you%E2%80%99re-santa-claus

December 5, 2013

Strong sales may result in weak profits for retailers this holiday season

Posted in E-Commerce,Fashion
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By Jonathan Berr
CBS News
December 4, 2013

So far this holiday season, it seems like economic pundits have been too pessimistic about the holiday shopping season. They worried that stagnant wages and high unemployment would dampen sales. They struggled over how consumers could pack in the same amount of shopping when there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

Yet consumers, whose confidence unexpectedly fell by one measure to seven-month low in November, showed a familiar propensity to buy as the holiday shopping season kicked off in earnest over what’s newly known as”Black Weekend” — the bonanza of discounting during and after Thanksgiving.

For example, in the hot game console category, they snapped up more than 2 million Sony PlayStation 4s in the three weeks since it debuted. Rival Microsoft sold more  than 1 million of its Xbox One units, which retail for about $100 more than the PlayStation 4.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-holiday-season-of-consumer-unease/

November 20, 2013

Are flash-sale sites a flash in the pan?

By AnnaMaria Andriotis
Wall Street Journal
November 19, 2013

When shares of Zulily (NASDAQ:ZU)  soared 71% Friday following its initial public offering, investors seemed to be betting that flash-sale sites are here to stay. Consumers, however, are having trouble sorting out whether the limited-time offers they peddle are really a good deal. Zulily, the first such startup to go public, is part of a growing industry of high-end flash-sale sites geared toward more affluent consumers. The business model is fairly simple: offer consumers a limited period of time—typically from as little as one hour to two days—to buy high-end inventory at a discount. But the process hasn’t worked out so smoothly for shoppers.

In a sign that consumers are growing wary of the industry, one study found shoppers’ complaints to be widespread: Forty-four percent of comments on flash-sale Facebook pages were negative earlier this year, according to findings released in May by Dotcom Distribution, which provides fulfillment services, including serving as a warehouse, for companies that sell products via e-commerce. Just 29% were positive. Meanwhile, a look at the unique desktop visitors of 10 popular flash sale sites (data supplied by comScore, an analytics firm that tracks consumer behavior) reveals that they declined for all but three of them in October compared with a year prior.

Part of the problem is that these sites grew popular as a response to the downturn—and those conditions are no longer in play. As store sales tanked, high-end manufacturers were stuck with excess inventory and looking for ways to unload it. That’s when many flash-sale sites popped up offering high-end luxury brands, along the lines of Gucci and Chanel, at discounts that consumers could not previously find elsewhere. Those market conditions created a new category of discount sites that have been marketing to relatively affluent consumers who are looking for a steal on what (even with a discount) is still a relatively pricey product.

But that high caliber of retail is harder to come by on these sites now, says Maria Haggerty, president of Dotcom Distribution. Manufacturers have since scaled back production so there are fewer grade-A products on these sites. While most items are still relatively high-end, they don’t inspire the same excitement and flurry of demand. “There isn’t enough inventory of the type of products these sites want to sell because it’s doing well in stores,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a New York-based research and consulting firm for the luxury industry.

 Click the link to read the entire article including a quote from Luxury Institute’s CEO Milton Pedraza: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/are-flash-sale-sites-a-flash-in-the-pan-2013-11-19/print?guid=5A07C5D6-5086-11E3-AD6E-00212803FAD6

October 23, 2013

Neiman Marcus Outshines the Competition For Online And In-Store Experiences Among the Wealthy

(NEW YORK) October 23, 2013 – As part of its first installment of the Luxury Multichannel Engagement Index (LMEI) survey, the New York-based Luxury Institute asked consumers from households with minimum annual income of $150,000 to share opinions and rankings of online and in-store experiences at leading luxury retailers. Neiman Marcus earns the highest overall score and stands out for garnering top honors in nine out of ten customer criteria used to evaluate both the Web and brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Wealthy shoppers say that Neiman Marcus stores rank first for attractive displays of exclusive products, easy navigation, accessibility of customer service, personalized shopping experiences, fair prices, and for carrying ample stock and styles. Customers also laud Neiman’s salespersons for making them feel special while serving as trusted fashion advisors.

The Neiman Marcus online experience draws equally extensive praise with the top overall ranking and the highest scores on the same measures of satisfaction.

“Smart retailers realize the value of leveraging data to deliver superior experiences that build lasting customer relationships, regardless of the channel,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

Neiman plans to invest $100 million over the next three to five years on technology that will closely align inventory management, logistics and human resources across multiple retail channels.

“Every aspect of our business is being transformed by technological advancements,” said Jim Gold, president of Neiman Marcus Group, at a retailing summit in Dallas. “The lines have completely blurred between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. The great challenge is to make the experience seamless.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

October 2, 2013

By Noon, These Two Will Have Brought In Another Half a Million More Dollars

By Paul Wachter
New York Magazine
October 1, 2013

One Kings Lane
Founded: 2009
Age of co-founders: 38 and 58
Most recent estimated valuation: $440 million
Lesson: Better than a deal on flatware is the perfect set delivered to your in-box.

The name emblazoned on the outer wall of 1355 Market Street, an Art Deco building ­in San Francisco completed in 1937, is a tribute to the past, not the ­present: Western Furniture Exchange and ­Merchandise Mart. As late as 2005, the premises housed 300 furniture wholesalers. By 2008, the number was down to 30, and the developer, brandishing city tax credits, made the sensible decision to re­invent the space for techies. Twitter moved in, followed by Microsoft-owned Yammer. Also came a company that can lay claim to the building’s former identity: One Kings Lane, an online purveyor of furniture and home accessories that is now projecting $300 ­million in annual revenue.

When I met the company’s co-founder, ­Alison Pincus, in One Kings Lane’s offices in late August, this historical symmetry went unmentioned. It wasn’t, I’m certain, because she was unaware, but rather because from the outset, she said, “we thought of One Kings Lane as always trying to be more than furniture.”

Click the link to read the entire article which includes multiple quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://nymag.com/news/business/boom-brands/one-kings-lane-2013-10/?imw=Y&f=most-emailed-24h5

June 10, 2013

Affluent Shoppers Make Mobile an Essential Stop in the Purchase Funnel

Discounts get affluent mobile shoppers to buy

eMarketer
June 10, 2013

The wealthy consumer is highly likely to own a smartphone or tablet, and the devices are becoming critical shopping tools for these high-income individuals. In April 2013, the Luxury Institute surveyed US internet users ages 21 and older with gross incomes above $150,000 and found that more than eight in 10 owned a smartphone, while 56% reported owning a tablet. These penetration rates are well above those for the overall US population on smartphones or tablets.

As affluent consumers become increasingly comfortable with their smart mobile devices, they are turning to them throughout the purchase process. The Luxury Institute found that the most common smartphone mcommerce activity was looking up store information. After this came product research and comparison shopping.

On tablets, consumers were most likely to look up product images and read user reviews and recommendations. This points to the increasing importance for luxury retailers to make sure they have an attractive, interactive tablet showcase for their products, as tablets serve as “lean-back” devices, which consumers often use to get to know potential purchases.

When it came to making actual purchases, the store still won out as the most common place to make a purchase among affluent consumers, cited by 78% of respondents. Purchasing via the desktop web was right behind, however, cited by 77%. Women were 6 percentage points more likely than men to make a purchase through this means, while men showed a greater proclivity to buy on mobile.

Mobile websites on tablets were the place where the greatest percentage of shoppers made mobile purchases, at one out of five affluent consumers. Another 11% used a tablet app to make a purchase. Fourteen percent of affluent consumers used the mobile web on a nontablet device to buy and 12% used a mobile app.

And even if affluent shoppers have plenty of cash at their disposal, that doesn’t mean a deal won’t help them convert. On tablets, special deals or price discounts were the No. 1 reason respondents would purchase via these devices, with 43% indicating that would sway them. On smartphones, special deals tied with ease of use, at 45%, as top reasons to complete a purchase on the device.

http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Affluent-Shoppers-Make-Mobile-Essential-Stop-Purchase-Funnel/1009954

May 9, 2013

High-Income Shoppers Embrace Online Commerce, but Stores Also Benefit From Web Browsing

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – May 9, 2013) – The Luxury Institute surveyed wealthy consumers earning at least $150,000 a year about their usage of the Internet and mobile devices, and how these technologies affect their interaction with brands across platforms.

High-earners are about as likely to have bought something at a store (78%) in the past 12 months or ordered it online via computer (77%). Despite the growing popularity of mobile and tablet shopping, research done on a traditional computer still feeds foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores, and led to in-store purchases among 45% of the consumers surveyed. Only 25% of wealthy shoppers buy online after checking out merchandise and gaining insights at a store.

Using a tablet’s Web browser has officially entered the mainstream as another shopping channel. In the past year, 20% of wealthy consumers reported using these devices to make a purchase. Web-enabled tablet usage is more popular for transactions than catalog purchases (17%), telephone orders (15%), or buying via smart phone Web access (14%). Retailers still send out catalogs because they’re effective drivers of sales in other channels: 20% were motivated by a catalog to make an in-store purchase; 16% of respondents say they bought something online in the past 12 months after seeing it in a catalog. Downloaded apps for phones (12%) and tablets (11%) are also gaining in popularity as distinct retail channels where wealthy consumers shop.

“Successful brands turn shopping and browsing into a seamless experience across traditional websites, apps for smart phones and tablets, and within brick-and-mortar stores,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Wealthy consumers are eager users of the latest technologies and brands need to be, too.”

About Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

May 5, 2013

9 apps for millionaires

No need to ask Jeeves, just whip out your smartphone

By Kelli B. Grant
MarketWatch
May 4, 2013

You’re wealthy and you don’t want to wait out a flight delay? There’s an app for that. BlackJet lets members book a seat on a private jet via their smartphone. Although the app is free, the service sets travelers back $2,500 for an annual membership, plus the cost of the flight; roughly $3,500 for a one-way jaunt from New York to San Francisco.

Sure, it’s not likely to appeal to everyone (read: most anyone), but apps for the 1% have become a hot market. According to a 2012 survey from marketing firm Luxury Institute, 64% of wealthy consumers view luxury brands more favorably if they have their own app. (Most are just window-shopping: Only about 13% of the affluent have purchased a luxury product or service via their phone.) “The best luxury apps come from branded applications,” says Brad Spirrison, the managing editor for review site Appolicious. It’s common to find fashion houses’ look books, high-end hotels’ recommendations for local amenities and other value-added features that any fan might use. But some, like BlackJet and these eight, are really made for rich customers.

Click the link to read the entire article:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/9-apps-for-the-super-rich-2013-05-02

October 31, 2012

Ecommerce, deferred purchases to lessen Hurricane Sandy luxury retail freeze

By Tricia Carr
Luxury Daily
October 30, 2012

The hurricane brewing in the Northeast region of the United States has brought luxury retail and travel to a halt, but retailers are not likely to suffer as consumers shift purchases to ecommerce or are willing to wait it out for the in-store experience.

While luxury brand hotels in the affected regions could remain closed this week due to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival and after-effects, retailers can potentially sustain revenue during the storm through online and mobile commerce. However, affluent consumers and visitors to New York will likely postpone planned store visits and purchases in favor of storm preparation and only return to the in-store shopping environment that they prefer when they can.

“In terms of net, I do not think there will be much impact,” said Steven Dennis, president of SageBerry Consulting LLC, Dallas, TX. “Certainly, the next few days will be hit very hard, but that is likely just to delay purchases rather than eliminate them.

“I think we will see a minor shift toward ecommerce,” he said. “Most purchases will just be deferred several days or more depending upon how long stores are closed, but there will be some complete losses from the tourist business.”

Click the link to read the entire article which includes quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute:
http://www.luxurydaily.com/ecommerce-deferred-purchases-to-lessen-hurricane-sandy-luxury-retail-freeze/

September 22, 2012

Consumers’ Expectations High for Luxury Brands on Mobile

The highest percentage of high-end consumers expect luxury apps to include a loyalty program

eMarketer
September 21, 2012

Luxury brands have been slow to the mobile party, with marketers steering clients toward traditional brick-and-mortar locations where products could be displayed in elegant surroundings and customers were treated to an impeccable shopping experience. But luxury brands are making up for lost time, according to a new eMarketer report, “Luxury Marketing: Recreating the One-on-One Experience with Mobile.”

Click the link to read the entire article: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1009366&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed4

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