Consumers may want to have the most expensive goods, but they don't want to look like they spent a fortune. Now, luxury shoppers are no longer bragging about what they can afford, but what a good deal they managed to snag.
While purchasing big-ticket items at big-ticket prices used to prompt a little bragging from new owners, a survey from customer experience solutions provider Empathica reveals the opposite is now true. Even when it comes to luxury retail, the data shows, consumers are concerned with getting the most bang for their buck in today's economic environment.
Only 6 percent of the surveyed consumers said they bragged about their recent luxury purchase costing a lot, compared to more than 30 percent of consumers who said they boasted about getting a good deal.
The research also found that 75 percent of consumers spent a considerable time researching luxury products before making a purchase – further proof of their commitment to landing a good deal. More than half of those surveyed said they spend more time researching those purchases today compared to two or three years ago.
The study showed shoppers are using a variety of outlets to gather their information, including the brand's website, online reviews and personal visits to the store.
Following up after the purchase – even if it is a bargain – also is necessary for luxury brands wanting good reviews. More than a third of the surveyed consumers said a luxury retailer didn't communicate with them after their big purchase.
"If consumers do receive good customer service, as well as a good deal, they are more likely to share it not only with their friends but with their online community," said Emmanuel Probst, vice president of retail for Empathica. "Post-purchase follow-up is so crucial today to encourage active brand advocacy."
Gary Edwards, chief customer officer at Empathica, said the lack of post-purchase follow-up is worrisome, and could be contributing to declining satisfaction with service levels.
"Luxury retailers need to understand that since many consumers admit to some 'bragging' about their purchase, it only makes sense to facilitate positive recommendations through some form of post-sale follow-up to complete the service experience."
The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel is based on surveys of 5,000 consumers in North America.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter before working in public relations. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.