July 28, 2022

How are US luxury purchase habits changing post-pandemic?

Chris Eckhoff, Senior Account Manager
The increasing number of Covid cases in the US means that some who typically prefer offline shopping may still choose to buy online instead.

This past quarter, Savanta’s MillionaireVue explored how millionaires’ spending habits have changed post-pandemic in a wide range of categories.

With the euro falling below $1 for the first time in two decades, many American high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are enjoying the exchange rate at high-end Paris boutiques.

While flight disruption has been a theme in many countries, the US has not been as affected. Notably, for HNWIs in the US it’s an attractive time to spend on luxury travel, with many travelling on potentially their first luxury trips abroad since lockdown.

During the pandemic and its lockdowns – which were enforced differently at a state level – many US millionaires tried new brands for luxury purchases in travel. And despite the easing of restrictions, these purchase habits have stuck, with 53% saying they will keep buying luxury items from these new brands.

The even better news for those luxury travel brands is that greater success may await by targeting younger US millionaires. They are much more likely to continue buying from the new brands they tried mid-pandemic. Four in five under 34 years old, plus 74% of 35-54s, say they will – significantly more than those aged 55 or above, at 31%.

Our research also revealed several other interesting trends. These include:

  • Very-high-net-worth individuals (VHNWIs), with at least $5m of investable assets, are significantly more likely to agree – 78% – than others.
  • Male millionaires are significantly more likely to agree – 61% – than female millionaires – 45%.

US millionaires and omnichannel marketing

But what does that mean for luxury brands looking to disrupt the status quo – and for their marketing strategies?

During the pandemic, online shopping became more popular than ever. In some states, at times online shopping was the only way to buy certain items. While shops have now reopened, the increasing number of cases in the US, due to the highly-transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant, means that some who typically prefer offline shopping may still choose to buy online instead.

Therefore, luxury brands need to understand their audience’s recent shopping habits to work out the best marketing strategy. Staying with travel, there’s actually little difference between US millionaires saying they’ll keep buying luxury items from online channels (55%), compared to those who’ll gradually return to in-store shopping (52%).

For both the luxury wine or spirits, and cars, categories – our research suggests that more in-store shopping will still be the first-choice option. However, US millionaires will also use online channels, perhaps more than initially expected. For example, over half (53%) of US millionaires who buy wine and spirits from luxury brands say they will keep buying luxury items from online channels.

The results suggest that for luxury brands, an omnichannel marketing strategy remains important. Otherwise, there’s a risk of missing big opportunities to reach the wealthiest shoppers when they’re looking out for something new.

Savanta’s MillionaireVue is a quarterly omnibus with c.500 HNWIs in each of the UK, US, and China. For more information, please click here.


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