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Luxury Marketers: That "Made in" Stamp Matters

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In this time of the dollar weakening against international currencies, including the pound, the Euro, and the Canadian dollar, those who market luxury goods may be tempted to hold the line on price by switching their manufacturing operations to countries where production costs are lower.

But a new luxury trend report by Unity Marketing entitled, What Luxury Executives Need to Know about Where Their Products Are Manufactured:  How to use "place" to sell more luxury goods, shows that such a cost-cutting move may be a mistake that damages your brand and drives away the very customers you seek.  Nearly 70 percent of 1,321 luxury consumers surveyed (avg. income $287.2k) said the place of manufacture is important when considering a new purchase.

"Luxury customers show a definite preference for luxury goods manufactured in certain countries," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury:  How New Consumers Values Are Redefining How We Market Luxury (Paramount Market Publishing, 2011).

"Overwhelmingly, they associate countries like the U.S.A., Italy, France, and Germany with better quality luxury goods.  On the other hand, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of those surveyed said that manufacturing luxury goods in less costly places, like China, is bad for luxury consumers," Danziger says.

New study reveals trends in luxury consumers' shifting attitudes toward place of manufacture

The new report compares the results of an April 2011 survey with a similar survey conducted in January 2007 in order to provide a perspective on how luxury consumers' attitudes are changing about where luxury goods are sourced.

Danziger says, "One of the most powerful trends to emerge in the latest survey is that luxury consumers are getting more aware of where their favorite luxury brands are sourced.  The findings from this research can impact the decisions companies make in manufacturing and sourcing in specific countries.  It suggests opportunities for brands to create awareness in the minds of luxury consumers about the place of manufacture and how to position 'place' to influence the consumer toward purchase."

Danziger points to a company profiled in the report, Maine-based luxury blanket and artisanal woolen manufacturer Swans Island, as a brand that makes the most of  'place' in its marketing and positioning.

"Clearly, luxury consumers are flipping over products and looking for that country of manufacture stamp, and if it doesn't say what they expect, they may well put it down and move on to an item manufactured in a country they associate with higher quality.  After all it is their search for superior quality that most powerfully motivates consumers to purchase luxury goods," Danziger concludes.

The survey was conducted April 6-13, 2011 among 1,321 luxury consumers (avg. income $287.2k; median net wealth $897k; age 45 years; men 45 percent & women 55 percent), in association with Unity Marketing's exclusive luxury tracking study

For more information about the place of manufacture report or the latest results of Unity Marketing's Luxury Consumer Tracking Study, please call Pam Danziger at 717-336-1600 or email to pam@unitymarketingonline.com

Visit www.unitymarketingonline.com to learn more.

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer. She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

Pam gives luxury marketers "All Access" to the mind of the luxury consumer. She uses qualitative and quantitative market research to learn about their brand preferences, shopping habits, and attitudes about their luxury lifestyles, then turns these insights into actionable strategies for marketers to use to reach these high spending consumers. Unity Marketing is the voice of the luxury consumer for such clients as PPR, Diageo, Tempur-Pedic, Google, Swarovski, Constellation Wines, Luxottica, Orient-Express Hotels, Italian Trade Commission, Marie Claire magazine, The World Gold Council, and The Conference Board.

Follow Pam on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/PamDanziger

Pam's latest book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, is available from Paramount Market Publishing. Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses?as well as the Classes, (Dearborn Trade Publishing, $27, hardcover) and Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior (Chicago: Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004).

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