Wednesday, September 7, 2011

High-end fashion brands should embrace social media

What kind of fashion brand customer is influenced by social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare?  If you guessed that only students and young adults with minimal budgets to spend on fashion frequent these sites, you might be surprised.  And if you are a luxury fashion brand making this assumption, you may be damaging your brand, according to new research on the high-end fashion customers from  Unity Marketing.

 The study, entitled The Fashionable Affluent,  gives insights into how affluent consumers shop for fashion, including how social media influences their fashion choices.

While the data does show that young consumers are more likely to use social media, it also gives a very different income and overall demographic profile than one might expect.  The research study was headed up by Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the new book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury:  How New Consumer Values Are Redefining the Way We Market Luxury.

"Without a doubt the population using social media skews young, but luxury fashion brands need to be aware that these media are powerful influencers of shoppers with a great deal of discretionary income and high-net-worth.  The study found that nearly half of the ultra-affluents (incomes $250,000 and above) and HNW ($1 million or more in investible assets) fashion customers surveyed were spurred by information gathered via social media to visit web sites, shop in retail stores, and to make a decision about which luxury fashion brand to purchase,"  Danziger explains.

"Ultra-affluents and HNW fashion shoppers were far more likely to be influenced by social media than were HENRYs (High Earners Not Rich Yet, $100k-$249.9k) and low-net-worth shoppers (less than $1 million investible assets)."

"Fashion marketers need to make strategic use of social media to build powerful relationships between their brand and these high-value customers.  That will translate a shopper's 'like' of a brand or becoming the 'mayor' of a retail location into added revenues and profits," Danziger says.

The data gathered by Danziger gives insight into affluent consumers' preferences and buying behaviors when it comes to fashion, including the demographic profile of the best customer for each fashion category.

In the survey, affluent shoppers were asked about purchases of clothing and apparel, shoes, handbags, and other fashion accessories, including the role of the designer in their purchases.  Key data collected includes:

What fashion items they buy
How much they spent in total on high-end apparel, shoes, handbags and other fashion accessories
What influences them in their fashion choices
Where they like to shop
Role of social media in influencing their purchases

To learn more about special report offers from Danziger, click here.  To purchase a copy of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, click here.

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