This article from the Boston Globes website boston.com presents an interesting snapshot of the “aspirational” middle class shopper with luxury tastes although it is focused on fashion it is relevant to many channels and categories. Whether the “aspirational” shopper is choosing high dollar handbags, specialty foods or high dollar electronics they are looking for a value. If Private Brands can fill that need/desire they can reach new customers and create loyalty.
Are your brands up to the challenge?
The following is an excerpt from that article.
As recession stops splurges, luxury retailers retool
Liz Wyman is done splurging on indulgences like a $300 leather Michael Kors bag and a pair of $575 black suede Cole Haan boots.
Instead, the 46-year-old state lawyer in Maine is scrimping however she can, tossing out catalogs from Neiman Marcus and avoiding Saks and Nordstrom at all costs. With her income eroding, she says, “I have to walk away.’’
Wyman is emblematic of the “aspirational shoppers’’ – middle-class consumers with luxury tastes – who have disappeared during the Great Recession. Their newfound frugality has contributed to an estimated 16 percent plunge in luxury spending over the past year, according to a report by Bain & Co.
But retailers are not giving up so easily; they are trying to rekindle middle-class America’s love affair with luxury by working with designers to create lower entry prices for high-end brands like Gucci and Christian Dior.
Steve Sadove, chief executive of Saks, said his company is promoting a private-label men’s collection that offers upscale garments like cashmere sweaters for hundreds of dollars less than designer brands. And the chain, which saw sales drop about 15 percent last year, is also featuring exclusive designer lines with lower prices, including one from Zac Posen. Although Posen’s namesake runway label costs $900 to $6,000, Z Spoke, made just for Saks, will start at about $80 for a T-shirt.
“The aspirational customer, if they are shopping, is looking for value,’’ Sadove said.