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Luxury customers growing “price- and quality-conscious”: Havas study

More than 60 per cent of customers in UAE and Saudi Arabia are well aware of goods prior to purchase

Passion for “new” things drives customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to crave for launches across luxury brands, a new study reveals.

The study, titled “The Luxury Customer Journey”, by luxury consultancy Havas LuxHub, has found out that customers in Arab nations are fond of purchasing abroad and religious or national holidays are increasingly becoming important to them when it comes to buying goods from luxury brands.

While the thrill associated with the sense of belonging to a select group prompts some to buy luxury fashion brands, for luxury connoisseurs it is more of an opportunity to show off their expertise in the subject.

Nonetheless, the study, conducted in eight markets with more than 6,400 consumers and 25 brands, notes that customers have become increasingly price- and quality-conscious during the recent economic slowdown.

Surprisingly, customers in emerging markets, according to the research, “are increasingly gaining ground, moving quickly up the luxury pyramid, from affordable and accessible logoed products to niche and exclusive goods.”

Of the respondents in the survey, 47 per cent have identified that “high quality” was the most associated feature of top well-known luxury fashion brands, while 32 per cent favour fashion – as in being considered “fashionable” – and a little more than one-fourth of them perceive the brands as “recognisable”.

The study reveals that e-commerce has not yet grown much for luxury fashion brands as only 16 per cent of customers buy luxury items online. However, it notes that more than 40 per cent of traditional sales are strongly impacted by digital content, online advertising and web editorial.

More than 60 per cent of 800 respondents from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where social media plays a major role in brand awareness, said they know exactly what they want before entering a boutique and they collect product and brand information before they venture out to purchase a fashion luxury product.

The study also lists six major factors that affect brand awareness and drive customers to buy luxury brands: boutique experience (61.3 per cent), boutique windows (60.8 per cent), official brand websites (54.7 per cent), face-to-face opinions of friends/family (52.1 per cent), search engines (45.8 per cent) and online fashion publications (43.5 per cent).

Isabelle Harvie-Watt, Global CEO of Havas LuxHub, says: “Brands, particularly the traditional luxury fashion brands, need to shift their focus to their customers and on how to engage them.  They need to know their data; they need to understand their customer; they need to be global yet increasingly local and personalised in their approach; they need to become much more digital but at the same time experiential.”

Below is the full infographic recapping the survey in the Middle East: