More than 9 in 10 luxury buyers search for information prior to making a purchase, according to [pdf] a study conducted by Google and Ipsos across 9 markets. The report indicates that online research is more popular among respondents in fast-growing luxury markets such as Brazil and China than in traditional luxury markets such as France, the US, and Germany, where the average age of buyers is older. Roughly half of the information sources checked overall are online.
The survey was conducted among luxury purchasers (at least 2 luxury purchases in the past 2year in apparel/accessories and jewelry/watches) aged 25-65 with high household income levels that tended to be in the top 5-8% of each market’s households.
Among respondents in all of the markets, the most popular method for searching for information offline is by talking to someone or seeing and trying the product in-store or at an event. For respondents from new markets (China, Brazil, and Russia), reading or hearing the information in media ranks as the second-most common way of finding information offline, followed by seeing someone wearing the product. Among mature market respondents (France, UK, US, Italy, and Germany), the second-most common way of finding information offline is also through the media, while print ads (in newspapers or magazines) are next. Finally, in the Japanese market, talking to friends, family and colleagues ranks third behind the media.
For each group of markets, search engines were the most commonly used online information source, followed by looking for information on a website and application.
Internet Use Ubiquitous; Traditional Media Still Has Reach
When it comes to affluent luxury buyers’ media habits, the study find that the internet is almost universally used on a daily basis. TV’s reach ranges from 82-89% across the market segments, with newspapers in the 58-65% range. There is much more variance in magazine use, with 57% of respondents in new markets reading a magazine daily, compared to 39% in mature markets and 22% in Japan. Radio also sees a wide range of use, from a high of 74% in mature markets, down to 59% in new markets and just 23% in Japan.
- On average, respondents spent $2,500 on their last luxury purchase.
- Most luxury purchases occur offline, with that skew most pronounced in Japan.
- Affluent luxury buyers are more likely than the general population to own a variety of devices, with tablet penetration at 73% in new markets.
- The main reasons for purchasing online are that it is convenient (53%), can be done anywhere, anytime (49%) and to find good deals (48%). The main barriers to shopping online are a preference for seeing and touching the product (65%) and concerns over the risk of counterfeit (35%).
- The preferred online ad formats for luxury goods are video and full-screen ads.
About the Data: The researchers interviewed 400 respondents per country. The survey was conducted from March 13 – April 28, 2013.