What the Next Generation of Affluent Consumers Wants from Luxury Brands

We are witnessing the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history. The luxury market is being reshaped by the emergence of new luxury consumers, ones who are aware of being sold to, skeptical of traditional marketing tactics, and dismissive of volume as an indicator of wealth. Millennials and their buying habits are more acute than any generation before them—bringing new challenges to the luxury space.

Heritage and Evolution

For a generation that values authenticity, the stories behind the products have never been more important. Brands must prove investment in quality and craftsmanship. The Sotheby’s brand has a 270-year history—and we extend this directly to our clients. Because of the Sotheby’s auction heritage, both established and emerging affluent consumers view association with the brand—working with a Sotheby’s International Realty realtor, for example—as a benchmark of success. It’s certainly a differentiator that Sotheby’s once sold the library of Napoleon, but it comes down to how we frame that for a millennial audience.

Brands like Burberry understand this well, balancing a storied history with contemporary brand posture. Burberry’s shift to social media platforms with inspiring, current brand ambassadors works to enhance, not detract from, the company’s prestigious 162-year legacy.

Digital Agility

Consumers want to know luxury brands are shifting to meet their individual needs and view brands that don’t evolve as static or dated. Our core message really comes alive through new innovations and luxury property marketing that is exclusive to Sotheby’s International Realty.

Digital media is perhaps the most significant way we can make meaningful connections with today’s consumer. 4K videography, 3D home tours and high-definition photography all service their need for inspiration and transparency. Our video-centric digital approach follows millennials’ natural discovery behavior. Sotheby’s recently introduced CURATE, an augmented reality app designed to transform the home buying and selling experience. It is the first of its kind in the real estate industry.

Our LIVE campaign approaches luxury property investment as a key component of the lifestyles of fascinating people. It attests to the fact that a Sotheby’s International Realty home is a catalyst for the lives our audience seeks.

Detail-Driven Service

Emerging affluent consumers are spending more on experiences than personal goods—a trend that is only continuing to grow. Because of this, they reject brand braggadocio and baiting tactics, looking instead for a genuine connection with the brands they support. They’re also looking for bespoke service. Forming a relationship with Sotheby’s International Realty means entering a curated marketplace, with the finest luxury properties offered by our sales associates. Alex Irish & Associates ensures that all of their clients receive a luxurious and positive experience when selling or listing their home, regardless of the price point or location. Our home collections prove we value our clients’ time by giving them refined options from the outset. This focus on personalization, localization and globalization is essential for our clients.

Sotheby’s International Realty, 2018.

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