What Affluent Asian Women Want From Luxury Brands


Amrita Banta | January 22, 2014

Amrita Banta, Managing Director of Agility Research, explains why Affluent Asian Females are demanding great quality from European luxury brands

Chanel Paris Shanghai Collection

The Asian luxury phenomenon was riding a high tide in 2013. In order to uncover the travel patterns and behaviour of luxury travellers, we conducted a survey on the Affluent Asian Woman six fast-growth Asian markets – Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Aged 18 to 35 year old, with income range in the top 25% in their respective countries, the Affluent Asian Women present significant potential for brands wishing to participate in growth of the luxury and premium travel in Asia. A total of 560 respondents participated in the our online-administered research initiative of in last quarter of 2013.

Affluent Asian Females demand great quality from luxury brands, but they also expect exclusivity and uniqueness – they want a product which is an extension and representation of who they are and what they have achieved.

“ Product quality in relation to price is the most important parameter when considering a purchase ”

Brands Should Focus on Product Quality

Affluent women consider product quality in relation to price as the most important parameter when making any purchase. Regardless of the price they are paying for a product, respondents expect great quality from luxury brands. Product quality is particularly relevant in the purchase of service items – technology, travel and vehicles.

Through the purchase of these luxury items and brands, affluent women expect the highest quality of service and confidence in the products they have purchased. Sales of luxury fashion accessories and watches are driven by a desire for exclusivity and uniqueness of product. When purchasing these items, Affluent women want to make a personal statement of uniqueness and individualism.

For Affluent Asian Females, the idea of luxury goes far beyond that of a price tag; it has strong emotional associations with quality of life, social status and ultimately happiness. Affluent Females primarily associate luxury with price, affordability and branded goods. Luxury is defined by “expensive” and “high-end” products and services.

“ Luxury items are irrevocably associated with status ”

Price acts as a selection tool, separating out those who can afford to purchase from those who cannot. Those able to buy in to this exclusive and price-prohibitive world, do so by “spending top dollar”. In return they are able to join an elite group which is set apart from the rest of society.

Things that are luxurious are of the finest quality and inspire awe in people, they are the ultimate expression of taste. Luxury items are irrevocably associated with status; they are an outward expression of a person’s wealth, prestige and affluence. Those who are able to afford the prices beyond the reach of the majority are deemed as “rich” and “powerful”.

They form a different social hierarchy, one in which they are seen as “upper class”, “posh” and “prestigious”. This display of income and status creates feelings of “sophistication”, “class” and “style”. It gives members a sense of belonging and creates desire in those aspiring to be part of this exclusive and glamorous world.

Lady Dior Shanghai Campaign

For Affluent Asian Women, a luxury product is functional, stylish, and is made to a standard which sets it apart from mainstream products. Superior quality is expected, but for Affluent Females, the ability to buy a luxury product is not just about getting a designer piece, it is about symbolizing a better quality of life.

Affluent Females describe how luxury creates ‘a sense of comfort’, of living a good life, of ‘achievement’ and the ability ‘to live without worries and live the life you want’. For the segment, luxury has become more than just a lifestyle, it transports Affluent Women into a world which is ‘pleasurable’, ‘comfortable’, ‘calm’ and ‘happy’. It provides an inner-sense of pleasure and self-worth, and reaffirms their position, their success and their happiness.

For Asian Women, affluence and luxury are outwardly represented by branded items. Designer handbags are seen as the epitome of luxury and class and are the key fashion accessory to have in order to make an everlasting style statement.

“ For Asian Women, affluence and luxury are outwardly represented by branded items ”

Asian Women reaffirm their love of European fashion houses by associating ‘luxury’ with the brand names of Chanel, Prada and Dior. These luxury brands have certainly been able to inspire great loyalty from their Affluent Asian customers.

Quality again is the overriding differentiator for these top ranking brands. This is closely followed by the exclusivity and uniqueness of the product and the ability for the purchaser to demonstrate a sense of individual style and taste.

High-end travel, cars and property also rank highly in their association with luxury. These high-ticket items are synonymous with the feelings of happiness and comfort that Affluent Asian Females associate with a luxurious lifestyle.

For Asian Women, luxury conjures up images of a ‘modern apartment’, a ‘large house’ or a ‘deluxe condo’. They picture BMW’s, Mercedes and Ferraris along with world-wide travel and luxurious hotels. Few mention watches, jewelry or fine dining when describing luxury.

“ These affluent women appear to associate luxury with functional needs – a place to live, a car to drive ”

Instead these affluent women appear to associate luxury with the more functional needs – a place to live, a car to drive and holidays with the family. The purchase of a designer handbag is driven by desire, an appreciation of craftsman-ship and style, and the ability for Affluent Females to make themselves feel special.

It is a non-essential item which brings great pleasure and a symbol of who they are. These items also show a greater need of these women for financial security as witnessed by the choice of handbag or house.

When purchasing technology, cars and travel, respondents look for a product which really resonates with them on an individual level. One that is tailored to their needs in terms of look and function. Affluent Women will look to peers and family for advice/help on their selection of vehicle – this is the only time the opinion of others is seen as an important consideration.

Affluent Women are not driven by the same desire for exclusivity when purchasing technology due to the commoditization of the market. Technology such as smartphones, do not offer the same breadth of purchasing experience as other consumer goods.

This market demonstrates such standardization, that these items have simply become an affordable ‘necessity’. These are functional products which once purchased can be tailored to an individual’s requirements and style through accessories which offer varying degrees of exclusivity and price.

Louis Vuitton Shanghai Maison

Brands That Manage This

European luxury brands dominate across the fashion, watch and car manufacturing sectors. These long-established designers and manufactures produce the most sought after goods. Consumers will pay a premium for the heritage of the brand and for the perceived quality and craftsmanship of the product.

Consumers want to have products that are made in Europe, which bear the mark “Made in France” or “Made in Italy” – this denotes a real level of exclusivity and luxury. European fashion houses dominate the first 9 spots on the top rated fashion brand list with Chanel, Prada, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci forming the top 5.

Fashion houses have successfully launched into the lucrative watch market, with Chanel and Dior appearing in the top 5 rated brands for watches. Affluent Asian Females rate Rolex as the top rated brand due to its superior quality, craftsman-ship and exclusivity. Chanel, Dior, Cartier and Omega make up the top 5 rated brands.

“ European luxury brands dominate across the fashion, watch & car manufacturing sectors ”

European Cars dominate the top rated vehicle brands, taking the first 11 spots on the list. BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi are the top rated luxury cars. BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi are seen as attainable luxury brands, they are strongly associated with quality and reliability.

Although expensive, they do not carry the high price tags associated with Ferrari or Rolls-Royce. These highly priced cars invoke feelings of ‘exclusivity’ and ‘uniqueness’.

Apple dominates the top rated technology products. iPhone, iPad and general Apple products emerge as the top rated brands. The brands dominance is again attributed to a sense of superior quality and unique sense of style. Samsung products are also highly rated.

To further investigate the Asian luxury market on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- Chinese Crackdown on Luxury to Drive Demand
- Chanel Overtakes Louis Vuitton in Chinese Share of Search
- The Most Sought-After Luxury Watch Brands in China

Cars | China | Travel | UHNW | Watches