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Luxury industry requires a human touch in 2018

The Luxury Institute LLC’s 2018 “State of the Luxury Industry” report reveals what international luxury consumers expect from their shopping experience, with customer service ranking highly and politeness topping the list of priorities for sales staff. Nearly 53 per cent of wealthy consumers surveyed stated that customer service was an important part of a luxury brand, a response that was only second in popularity to superior quality, cited by 67 per cent of respondents as essential in luxury products.

Sales professionals working in the jewellery and watches sector were the most frequently commended, receiving positive reviews from 42 per cent of those surveyed. Professionals working with fashion apparel and designer shoes, however, fared less well with approval ratings of 27 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.

Although focused on the luxury sector, the report echoes many of the shopping trends being experienced in the wider retail industry, where brands are increasingly focusing on customer experience in an attempt to gain the edge over their competitors.

E-commerce brick-and-mortar complements, some luxury brands have even taken the fight to the courts. US cosmetics group Coty won a case in the EU Court of Justice in December, preventing sales of its luxury goods on online platforms. The State of the Luxury Industry report surveyed affluent consumers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, and Mexico for its 2018 edition.

Respondents in the US came from households representing the top 11 per cent of earners, with a minimum annual gross income of $150,000. Other international participants represented the top 10 per cent of earners in their respective countries.