The newest Saks Luxury Pulse poll of luxury shoppers has been released by Saks, the leading digital platform for luxury clothes, and it contains important insights that contribute to the company’s comprehensive understanding of the premium customer.
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“Our strategy is centered on serving consumers who are interested in luxury and we continue to see opportunities that come from offering the best of Saks to these shoppers,” said Marc Metrick, CEO, Saks. “Even as consumer spending shifts with the evolving economic environment, we’re pleased to see a sustained interest in luxury. As the largest luxury ecommerce platform in the U.S., it’s our mission to establish strong relationships with the full spectrum of luxury customers and maintain them for years to come.”
The Saks Luxury Pulse survey, conducted in January 2023, revealed that customers intend to continue spending on luxury goods over the following three months, with the majority of respondents (62%) intending to spend the same amount or more than they did over the previous three months.
With 72% of respondents having previously booked or intending to arrange a future trip, respondents are also prioritizing their expenditure on travel. Of of those, apparel (60%) and shoes (36%) are the most popular luxury things people are purchasing in advance of their travels. Saks, a company that profits when customers venture out and vacation, keeps growing its selection across a variety of categories and provides inspiration through its interesting content and Saks Live, its interactive live commerce platform.
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Emily Essner, Chief Marketing Officer, Saks, added, “The Saks Luxury Pulse provides invaluable insights into consumers’ spending plans and helps us better understand what types of content, inspiration and experiences they want from Saks. We’re committed to providing insider access to the world of luxury, and leverage these insights to shape how we interact with our customers, helping to ensure that Saks remains the platform of choice whenever consumers are shopping for luxury.”
In the upcoming three months, luxury customers plan to spend money on luxury goods. Those who intend to spend more gave as reasons that their finances are stable and that they want to upgrade their clothes. In addition to spending money on luxuries like travel, many consumers intend to add new clothing to their closets.
- The majority of respondents (62%) plan to spend the same or more on luxury in the next three months compared to the last three months.
- Respondents with an income of $200K+ plan to prioritize spending first on travel, events and activities, followed by clothing.
- Generation Z and Millennial respondents plan to prioritize spending first on travel, events and activities, even more than other generations.
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Respondents are embracing travel, events and experiences, and they are shopping for luxury to prepare for these outings.
- 72% have already booked a future trip or are starting to plan one. Of those, the top luxury items they are buying in preparation for their trip are clothing (60%) and shoes (36%).
- The top travel destinations are warm weather and beach vacations (32%) and trips to a big city (18%).
- In addition to vacations, respondents plan to buy luxury items for nights out, special events and going to the office. For these events, they are also planning to buy clothing and shoes.
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Women respondents shared that they are embracing spring fashion trends, while men are embracing sophisticated dressing. When seeking fashion inspiration, many are turning to social media for reviews and inspiration.
- Women respondents plan to embrace spring fashion, such as colorful styles and statement tops in the next three months. As for men, they plan to embrace clean sneakers, loafers and tailored suits.
- Consumers are using social media – primarily Instagram (55%) – for inspiration when shopping for luxury.
- Respondents shared that they are frequently using social media to read reviews (45%) and to get inspiration for outfits (33%).
When asked about what services they want the most when shopping, free basic alterations (64%) and returns in store (55%) were among the top three, which Saks is able to provide through our exclusive partnership with the Saks Fifth Avenue Stores, unlike other luxury digital pure-plays.
We reached out to industry experts in luxury and e-commerce to get their opinions on the Sak’s report findings:
Young consumers are challenging business norms
The Saks report is wonderfully insightful and in line with the other reports of the same ilk.
Euromonitor’s latest report shows a clear shift towards spending on purpose-driven brands. This shift is particularly prevalent among high-income consumers over the global average. The report also shows that rental and resale platforms have catapulted into a digital age of growth. There is also a clear shift towards buying second-hand (pre-loved) and renting goods – again, it would appear that higher-income consumers are more inclined towards this new business model.
The need for more versatile and sustainable business models is rising. It’s early days– but brands are experimenting with these new concepts, and luxury is well placed in the circular economy owing to its attributes that have strong tie-ins with quality, heritage, craftsmanship, and longevity – these are all things that will become increasingly important in short to medium term.
I would have loved to see more of a reflection of the sustainability sentiment amongst millennials and Gen Z, as this is where the real opportunity lies for retailers.
Diana Verde Nieto, Co-founder and Co-CEO at Positive Luxury
Luxury Shopping Based On Travel Destination
Even with the shift in economic climate and with shoppers prioritizing spending on travel, I do not think this will impact luxury clothing and item stores like Saks. People will always want the luxurious items, the I-have-to-have-it mentality, and that will never go away. It’s human psychology. I think it makes sense for Saks to stay their course. One thing that was mentioned in your article is that – yes – travel spending has increased, but now spending on clothing to wear while traveling will increase.
Social media posts show luxury travel to Mykonos, Positano, the Almalfi Coast – and these are all luxury destinations that come with a luxurious lifestyle – including clothing. Popular destinations like Tulum are known for their unique apparel and style with beige, neutral colors, unique hats, and creative, comfy flats. I think companies like Saks are being smart. They are analyzing behavior and as long as they shift their marketing strategies to cater to these trends, they can profit from it.
For example, when traveling to Tulum, I’d like to Google ‘Tulum Outfits’ and if a luxury brand is showing a trendy outfit that is Instagram-worthy, I will add every item to my cart. It makes it easy for me to have a full outfit, it’s trendy and cool, and I’m excited to wear it on my luxury vacation.
Jamie Mitri. Founder and CEO of Moss Pure
Social Media To Drive Luxury Lifestyle Consumption
Social media, already a powerful marketing tool, will continue to influence spending decisions while expanding across all categories, especially as the buying power of Millennials and Gen Z increases. As a fulfillment partner to emerging and evolving prestige brands, Dotcom Distribution has benefited from the evolution of social media since the early days of YouTube, shipping more and more product as these brands continue to embrace social. It’s an amazing progression that rivals earlier forms of advertisement, from print to radio and television.
Today, online influencers, through platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok, have a firm grip on the eyeballs, aspirations, and imaginations of consumers, making high-end luxury purchases, like travel, the new frontier. The medium that cut its teeth over a decade ago on unboxing videos of beauty and apparel continues to evolve and smart brands are investing heavily. The online content is tantalizing, and consumers will continue to prioritize spend to mimic the lavish lifestyle of their online idols, guiding them to faraway lands and into the checkout pages of their go-to influencers’ favorite online stores.
As travel and other experiences benefit from social, it’s no surprise that purchases of apparel and footwear continue to top the list of luxury goods purchased. It’s all about looking the part, and there’s no quicker way to do that than to clone the outfits of these social stars. Brands that are not focused on social will fall behind, making room for new brands that know how to harness the power of influencer followers.
Rob Coon, Chief Commercial Officer at Dotcom Distribution