Luxury Institute News

March 25, 2009

News Release: High Net-Worth Consumers Rank the “Best of the Best” Men’s and Women’s Luxury Fashion

(NEW YORK) March 25, 2009 – The Luxury Institute reported today the results of the men’s and women’s luxury fashion categories of the 2009 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey, which identifies the top brands that exhibit true luxury in the high-end fashion market, as rated by high net-worth consumers.  

 

Which luxury fashion brands deliver the best combination of quality, exclusivity, customer experience and peer-based prestige? High net-worth consumers rated Ermenegildo Zegna and Hermes the “Best of the Best” amongst all brands in the men’s and women’s luxury fashion categories, respectively.

 

The LBSI asks high net-worth consumers to rate men’s and women’s luxury fashion brands across four equally weighted components: Consistently Superior Quality, Uniqueness and Exclusivity, Making the Customer Feel Special Across the Entire Customer Experience, and Being Consumed by People Who Are Admired and Respected. Additionally, the survey asks wealthy consumers if brands are Worthy of a Price Premium and if they are Willing to Recommend the brands, along with their appropriate reasoning.

 

The “Best of the Best” are: (LBSI score out of 10)

·         Men’s Fashion

o   Ermenegildo Zegna – 7.89

o   Canali – 7.81

o   Armani – 7.59

 

·         Women’s Fashion

o   Hermes – 7.92

o   Balenciaga – 7.84

o   Prada – 7.78

 

“Repeatedly in 2009 we have found that brands perceived to deliver the best combined luxury value are rated higher. Luxury brands perceived as overpriced or not exclusive enough, or that deliver great products but sub-par customer experiences, have been rated lower this year. Wealthy consumers understand they have the power now, and they are voting with their dollars,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “In the 21st century, luxury brands will still validate consumers, but luxury consumers will, in turn, validate luxury brands. That is a marked departure from the ‘good-old-days’ of luxury of 2007. The new rules of luxury are being written, and this time it is high net-worth consumers, not brands or pundits, who are writing them.

 

“Here are some examples: Luxury brands that are snobby and arrogant are out; welcoming and nurturing brands are in vogue. It used to be that luxury brands could impose high prices; now they have to earn them. It used to be that consumers had to adapt to the arcane and inconvenient business processes that luxury brands chose for them; now luxury business processes will adapt to customers. Customer dialogue and metrics used to be feared and ridiculed by luxury executives. Now every luxury brand that wants to survive this crisis will embrace customer dialogue and metrics, and take positive action from continuous consumer feedback. There will be lots of laggards, but by 2012 any major luxury brand that fails to adopt the new rules of the 21st century luxury enterprise will disappear, or evolve into a tiny museum version of itself. It may take new leadership for the luxury revolution to take place, but it will happen.”

 

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey is the only unbiased measure of the stature of leading brands among wealthy Americans. For the Women’s Fashion survey a national sample of 818 wealthy American female consumers, with an average income of $353,000 and average net worth of $2.6 million, was surveyed online. For the Men’s Fashion survey, a national sample of 608 wealthy American men with an average income of $346,000 and average net worth of $3.8 million, was surveyed online. Survey results are weighted to match demographic and net-worth profiles of the same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from The Federal Reserve.

 

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research and consulting services that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the LuxuryBoard.com (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world’s first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. 

March 16, 2009

Luxe Retailers Bank on Expert’s Optimism

Boston Herald, By Jill Radsken
Thursday, March 12, 2009

The multimillionaires are still spending. It’s the under-$10-million set who are cutting back.

So said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the New York-based Luxury Institute, an independent ratings and research organization. Pedraza was in town earlier this week to speak to showroom owners and interior designers at the Boston Design Center. Among his words of encouragement – “Wealthy baby boomers are still spending briskly” – was a renewed emphasis on customer service.

He pointed to companies such as Nordstrom, Bottega Venetta, La Prairie and the Ritz-Carlton, all of which rate high marks in his number-crunching efforts to determine the most well-mannered businesses.

As for the ones who don’t educate their sales staff to be courteous, Pedraza wouldn’t name names. But he acknowledged that industry “pruning” (luxury speak for going out of business) is necessary and keeps everyone else on their toes.

“The world isn’t coming to an end,” he said. “We have to fight.”

March 15, 2009

Luxury Institute Names Best in High-End Footwear

 Jocelyn Anderson  Posted Friday March 13, 2009  From Footwear News

Salvatore Ferragamo and Christian Louboutin win top honors for high-end men’s and women’s shoes, respectively, according to a new survey released Thursday by the Luxury Institute.

Results of the 2009 survey identified those luxury shoe brands that deliver the best in quality, exclusivity, customer experience and peer prestige, based on responses from 1,208 wealthy Americans.

For men’s shoes, Versace ranked second, followed by Louis Vuitton. In the women’s category, Manolo Blahnik took second place, and Jimmy Choo was a close third.

This year’s rankings are even more meaningful than they have been in the past, Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, said in a statement. “We are finding that you don’t have to be the most expensive or best known to be rated highly by wealthy consumers,”

he said. “Contrary to popular myth, most wealthy consumers don’t live above their means and have always looked for true lasting value in luxury purchases.”

 

March 12, 2009

News Release: High Net-Worth Consumers Rank the “Best of the Best” Men’s and Women’s Shoes

(NEW YORK) March 12, 2009 – The Luxury Institute reported today the results of the men’s and women’s luxury shoe categories of the 2009 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey, which identifies the top brands that exhibit true luxury in the high-end shoe market.  

 

Which luxury shoe brands deliver the best combination of quality, exclusivity, customer experience and peer prestige? High net-worth consumers rated Ferragamo and Christian Louboutin the “Best of the Best” amongst all brands in the Men’s and Women’s luxury shoes categories, respectively, reported by the independent, New York-based Luxury Institute.

 

The LBSI asks high net-worth consumers to rate Men’s and Women’s luxury shoe brands across four equally weighted components: Consistently Superior Quality, Uniqueness and Exclusivity, Making the Customer Feel Special and Being Consumed by People Who Are Admired and Respected.

 

The “Best of the Best” are: (LBSI score out of 10)

·         Men’s Shoes

o   Ferragamo – 7.63

o   Versace – 7.60

o   Louis Vuitton – 7.35

 

·         Women’s Shoes

o   Christian Louboutin – 8.24

o   Manolo Blahnik – 8.07

o   Jimmy Choo – 8.02

 

“This year the ratings by wealthy consumers are even more meaningful,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “Sometimes consumers are consistent year-to-year with ratings, and some years we have a brand that suddenly stands out temporarily. We are finding that you don’t have to be the most expensive or best known to be rated highly by wealthy consumers. Contrary to popular myth, most wealthy consumers don’t live above their means and have always looked for true lasting value in luxury purchases. Most are self-made Main Street millionaires who have earned every penny by creating value for the global economy.

 

“In a world full of biased and rigged ratings, especially online, the Luxury Institute has delivered, for more than five years, impartial research that ensures a level of transparency and objectivity that has earned us the trust of the consumer, the industry and the media,” continued Pedraza. “We strive continuously to reinforce the trust that allows us to facilitate a constructive dialogue between wealthy consumers and luxury brands via our ratings surveys. Our business continues to do well in this severe downturn, as true luxury brands find they need unbiased, reliable data from a trusted expert.”

 

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey is the only unbiased measure of the prestige of leading brands among wealthy Americans. A national sample of 1,208 wealthy American consumers, with an average income of $345,000 and average net worth of $3.2 million, was surveyed online. Survey results are weighted to match demographic and net worth profiles of the same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from The Federal Reserve.

 

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research and consulting services that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the LuxuryBoard.com (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world’s first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., Earns Platinum Seal of Customer Approval

MarketWire updated 7:00 a.m. ET, Tues., March. 10, 2009

NEW YORK (March 10, 2009) -The Luxury Institute reported today that The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., a luxury hotel brand, has earned the Luxury Institute’s Platinum Seal of Customer Approval certification, the highest possible level of authenticated customer recommendation. In an independent survey of its current clients, The Ritz-Carlton was rated by a statistical sample of customer respondents with the highest level of willingness to recommend the firm. Customers willing to recommend The Ritz-Carlton stated: “Great service and attention to detail”; “The rooms are awesome. It is just such a treat to come and be pampered and treated so friendly and kindly”; “Staying at The Ritz-Carlton is more than just a stay, it is an experience. I am always impressed and never disappointed.”

The new Luxury Institute Seal of Customer Approval (LISCA) program surveys luxury firms’ authenticated customers to independently measure, among other key metrics, the absolute percentage of existing customers willing to recommend a brand to their peers.

“I want to congratulate The Ritz-Carlton on its outstanding achievement of Platinum Purveyor” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “The Ritz-Carlton stands out as a unique 21st century luxury enterprise that is welcoming and nurturing to its clients and adapts to, and often anticipates, the needs of its customers. In today’s challenging economy, lasting customer value is everything in luxury, and the LISCA certification is a key driver of new business and customer loyalty. That is because unlike other rating designations, this new certification program is based not on the judgments of committees, single experts, one-time inspections or biased online ratings and reviews. This uniquely independent rating is based on a survey of customer referrals from current customers and requires a statistical sample to validate the results. It is conducted by an independent third-party analytical firm that verifies the authenticity of the responders and tabulates the results. Nothing is a more powerful sales driver than independently validated customer referrals.”

“The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company greatly values its working relationship with The Luxury Institute,” says Bruce Himelstein, senior vice president, sales and marketing, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  “While many firms and products claim to be luxury, few actually really deserve the description. To have earned the Platinum Seal of Customer Approval from LISCA, places our lifestyle brand well above our competitors. We continue to rely upon the data and research provided by LISCA as we endeavor to attract the truly discerning customer’s loyalty and appreciation.”

The highest level of certification, Platinum Purveyor Certification is awarded to firms with at least 86% of their authenticated and surveyed customers who are willing to recommend the brand to their peers. Brands that achieve between 70% and 85% of customers willing to refer the brand are awarded the Gold Purveyor Certification.  Companies with less than 70% referral do not receive certification. However, training programs are available for companies aspiring to achieve the annual certification.

About the Luxury Institute, LLC (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research and consulting services that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the Luxury Board (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world’s first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.

About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 72 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe with future openings including Shenzhen, China; Dove Mountain, Arizona; and Lake Tahoe, California. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at www.ritzcarlton.com.