De Beers, Harry Winston, Bulgari? … ‘Whatever!’

The following article appears courtesy of Israeli Diamond Industry Portal

A recent, first-of-its-kind survey into the perception of luxury brands among Generation Y affluents led to several interesting conclusions about the future of the $250 billion luxury sector. Jewelry and watches were among the lowest rated luxury brand categories for both male and female Generation Y respondents (people born between 1977 and 1994 with an annual spending power that exceeds $200 billion.)

While luxury icons Cartier, Tiffany and Rolex ranked highest (though not high) among the survey’s participants, with 50% of those surveyed feeling ‘indifferent’ or ‘unfamiliar’ with these leading watches and jewelry brands, diamond giant De Beers, famed jewelers Harry Winston and Bulgari, and timepiece power house Omega received an unflattering ‘whatever’ status when ranked for their brand perception. Luxury diamond jewelers H. Stern, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Graff were ranked as completely ‘off the grid’ as far as Gen Y affluent consumers are concerned.

New York University Professor of Marketing Scott Galloway, who conducted the survey, described the results as posing “the closest thing to a crystal ball for predicting a brand’s long-term prospects.”

The survey, conducted by L2 Think Tank, which researches practices and trends among luxury consumers, aimed to gauge Gen Y’s affinity for 105 famous luxury brands. The poll included 448 Gen Y high-earners (55% women and 45% men) from 45 countries, and measured brand affinity in six categories: auto, jewelry and watches, fashion, hotels, spirits and champagnes, and beauty and skincare.

Some 65% of the women and 61% of the men polled by Galloway said they considered themselves brand conscious, while only 1% of the women and 3% of the men said they were not.

Traditional luxury indicators, such as quality, authenticity and image, were the most important attributes of a luxury brand for both men and women, while heritage and exclusivity – often staples of luxury marketing campaigns – proved to play a lesser role in Gen Y affluents’ purchasing choices. 

The survey found that the top 10 brands for both men and women were dominated by traditional luxury-affiliated names, such as Chanel, Cartier, The Four Seasons and Ralph Lauren. Nevertheless, modern luxury bands like Marc Jacobs, W Hotels and Mac, also proved to have great appeal.

Generation Y, said the poll, still consider cars the ultimate status symbol. BMW topped the list for both men and women, receiving an ‘Epic’ ranking. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and Lexus made the women’s top-five brands (respectively); while the men ranked Ferrari second, Porsche third, Lamborghini fourth and Audi fifth.

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