Luxury Brands: Meet Your Best Customer and Its Not Who You Think It Is
He’s Young, Affluent & His Name is HENRY (high-earner-not-rich-yet)
Luxury marketers tend to view middle-aged women as their best customer prospects, but based upon analysis of spending habits among the different demographic segments, men, especially young, HENRY men ($100k-$249.9k) on career paths leading to ultra-affluence ($250k+), represent the best luxury prospects. What sets men apart from women in terms of their luxury preferences is that men are more status conscious.
Young affluent men value status displays, But they value very different status symbols than their fathers or grandfathers
For men, it’s the ‘peacock phenomenon;’ status displays are important. But today’s status symbols are not simply about how much money one makes or spends. Rather today’s status symbol is much more about who one is and what one values.
So today’s status symbols are less about traditional high-end luxury brands, and more about brands that really express one’s values and identity. Think:
- Mini Cooper, rather than Mercedes
- Triathlon watch, rather than Rolex
- Shinola messenger bag, rather than Louis Vuitton
For young HENRY affluents, there is a distinct generational component to their chosen status symbols. They reject their father’s or grandfather’s status symbols; rather they connect with status symbols that communicate to their peers about which ‘tribe’ they belong to.
Suitsupply Has HENRY’s Needs Covered Today & Tomorrow
Upwardly-mobile professional HENRY men are just the kind of customers that habedashery-brand Suitsupply cultivates: highly-educated men who need to dress for success in their management, law, finance, and professional careers, but who don’t want – or yet have – a lot of cash to spend.
HENRY is the emerging demographic that describes the kind of young men with advanced degrees and ambitious career goals who are Suitsupply’s target customers. They have incomes between $100k-$249.9k today but many, especially those who dress for success in Suitsupply fashion as the brand promises, will advance into ultra-affluent income levels over $250,000 and thus become the prime target customer for true luxury brands.
Suitsupply sells high-quality, well-designed men’s suits at affordable, even reasonable prices, with off-the-rack suits starting under $500 and made-to-measure up to $2,000. Suitsupply is an international retailer with 15 US stores, including a store-in-store at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship, and six more slated to open soon, including another Bloomingdale’s shop in Beverly Hills, to make over 60 stores worldwide.
Besides attractively priced clothes, Suitsupply provides exceptional service, which includes highly-trained sales associates that take the guesswork out of the equation by fitting a customer into the suit that works best for him; and on-site tailors who do basic alterations while one waits – all for the thrill of immediate gratification.
But it’s not just the clothes and shopping experience that sets Suitsupply apart. Suitsupply’s marketing strategy makes it an important retailer. Suitsupply is a retailing concept that is designed to grow and evolve with its core customer base. And its recent partnering with Bloomingdale’s offers Suitsupply a platform to expand the brand even more broadly across the USA. Suitsupply knows its customer – young, ambitious professional men – and his needs today, but is positioned to meet those needs in the future, as he advances in his profession and his ability to trade up. It’s the affordable front door to a bespoke haberdashery experience that today’s young and less affluent HENRY customers will ultimately grow into.
Suitsupply looks to be a sustainable brand with a powerful target market – young men with ambition and incomes destined to rise year-over-year with a need for professional suiting and appreciation for high levels of service. The brand’s future is virtually guaranteed because Suitsupply has ticked off all the most important boxes to succeed.
- Identifying the customer: Young men on the road to affluence who need professional suiting.
- Defining what he needs: Fine quality suiting at reasonable price today with offerings that can grow with his ability to pay in the future.
- Being where he is: Suitsupply has stores in most major U.S. metropolitan areas where he works. With its new Bloomingdale’s partnership, it can reach an even wider customer base. And Suitsupply has an online store for the customer who can’t visit one of its locations or who has already done so and knows exactly what he needs next.
- Delivering a WOW factor that will hook him and keep him coming back: Service levels that exceed what he would expect and probably has ever experienced. By providing instant alterations, Suitsupply builds a level of trust and loyalty that will bring him back again and again.
Meet the HENRYs that Are Luxury Brands’ Future Customers
While not all HENRYs will grow into ultra-affluence and reach the level of wealth and income that makes them the prime target customer for the world’s heritage luxury brands, almost all Ultra-affluents (incomes $250,000 and above) start out as HENRYs ($100k-$249.9k). The simple fact is, people don’t begin their careers at ultra-affluent levels, but the best, the brightest and most ambitious move through the HENRY demographic to reach ultra-affluence as they mature, with incomes reaching their peak between ages 35-to-54 years.
Today, the leading edge of the Millennial generation, 36 years old, is just beginning to cross into that window of affluence when incomes start to rise. That makes young HENRYs an especially important target customer for luxury brands that need to make a connection with their future customers.
Unity Marketing offers a range of research reports and services that will give you access to and insight into the young HENRYs, who are the gatekeepers for the future luxury market.
- Get Introduced: I just published a mini-book, entitled What Do HENRYs Want, that provides a quick overview of the HENRYs and how to connect with this emerging demographic. It includes a look at brands that are capturing the brand loyalty, and spending power, of the HENRY customer.
- Dig Deeper: Unity Marketing offers a detailed trend report, Meet the HENRYS: Positioning for the Mindset of the High-Earners-Not-Rich-Yet Mass Affluent Consumers, that goes into more depth about this emerging demographic that is the future customer for luxury brands.
- Get Up-Close & Personal with HENRY: Unity Marketing is expert at giving marketers access and understanding of the HENRY customer that is their best and brightest prospects today and tomorrow. We provide both qualitative and quantitative research with HENRYs, defined by both income, age and gender. Call me at 717.336.1600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to meet the HENRYs, key to your brand’s future. Learn more about our custom research services by clicking here.