In Europe, Affluent Millennials Are Changing How Luxury Brands Approach Marketing

The emergence of millennials with significant disposable income is a key demographic trend across Western Europe, and is already having a dramatic effect on brands that aim to attract affluent and luxury buyers.

“By 2024, 50% of luxury product buyers will belong to the Millennial generation,” Javier Seara, a fashion industry luxury goods expert at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), said recently in Germany-based newspaper Handelsblatt.

eMarketer’s latest report, “Affluents in France, Germany and the UK: Savvy and Demanding, Both Online and Offline,” looks at the demographics of affluent consumers in these countries, their media use, and how luxury brands are shifting tactics to market to them.

Affluent millennials exhibit the same now prevalent behaviors and attitudes that make it difficult to market to digital consumers in general, including fragmented time across devices and a generally poor opinion of digital ads. But it’s their high use of ad blocking that makes them particularly difficult to reach.

Nearly 40% of affluent internet users in the UK used an ad blocker in the first quarter of this year, according to GlobalWebIndex, while more than 40% of affluent internet users in France and Germany also did so.

So how can marketers get well-to-do consumers “through the door,” either physically or digitally?

Some brands have found success by providing offline experiences. Blome, a watchmaker founded in 1947, recently embraced digital commerce, and is now an official online reseller for 15 international luxury brands. Benefits for customers include a dedicated staff of watchmakers and “masters,” rapid delivery of purchases, and free delivery and returns. Customers purchasing a watch worth more than €10,000 ($11,276) get special perks, as explained on its website: “Upon request, particular watches are proudly and personally explained, fitted and finally handed over to you by one of our watchmaker masters. Therefore, we like to invite you to spend a splendid shopping weekend on the Königsallee [in Düsseldorf], including an overnight stay in a suite at the Intercontinental Hotel. Your watch is celebratorily given to you in our workshop. Alternatively, we gladly send watch and master to your home in Germany.”

With such a formula, any absence of tangible luxury in the digital purchase process is more than overcome by the pleasure of the after-purchase experience—effectively reversing the sequence of events if consumers buy in a luxury brand’s physical store.

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