Meet the HENRYs: The Millennials that Matter Most For Luxury Brands by Pamela Danziger

Meet the HENRYs and the Brands They Love

Introducing the Millennial High-Earners-Not-Rich-Yet consumers with more money now and even more to come later

Called “groundbreaking” and “well written, organized and presented” by Midwest Book Review, Pamela N. Danziger’s latest book, Meet the HENRYs: The Millennials that Matter Most for Luxury Brands, is about the next-generation consumers that every brand manager, marketer and retail executive needs to know and know well – millennial High-Earners-Not-Rich-Yet consumers.

This forward-looking book examines trends and profiles 25 emerging disruptive brands that millennial HENRYs are drawn to. As a researcher focused on retail and a contributor, she explains how many of these innovative brands are setting themselves apart from the traditional top-tier brands. 

“In every survey my company conducts with business leaders and retailers, ‘finding new customers’ inevitably rises to the top of their list as their number one business challenge,” Danziger says. “I’ve found them and written the book about these new customers on which their future depends.”

Among the disruptive brands that are a hit with millennial HENRYs is Canada Goose, the outerwear brand that evolved from its roots protecting lumber jacks and other Canadian workers from the frigid arctic cold to a new luxury brand that upwardly-mobile millennials favor on the streets of New York, Chicago and Minneapolis.

Or The RealReal which has found a gold mine selling gently-used and authenticated luxury fashion to millennial fashionistas who crave unique, distinctive pieces with which to express their individual style. The fact that those pieces cost less is an added benefit, but not the ultimate reason why they buy.

“HENRYs status symbols are less about traditional high-end luxury brands and more about brands that express one’s values and identity,” Danziger explains.“Think a Mini-Cooper, rather than a Mercedes; or a Filson messenger bag, rather than one by Louis Vuitton; or a Shinola Runwell watch, instead of a Rolex.”

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Essential for luxury brands, important to everyone else

HENRYs hold the purse strings to luxury brands’ future. As a subset of the largest generation of Americans, mass-affluent HENRYs earn between $100K and $250K–the income cohort that accounts for 40 percent of all household spending. As a result, they are critical for brands as diverse as Walmart and Gucci.

The reality of the current consumer economy is that the American middle class has lost much of its spending power, leaving brands that have traditionally targeted this customer – Macy’s, JC Penney, Gap, Target and Kohl’s – to search out new consumer segments that offer opportunities for growth. That is the HENRYs.

But most important, these millennial HENRYs, age 23 to 38 this year, are the consumers who are on track to become the ultra-affluent ($250K +) of the future. They are better educated than their peers and employed in career paths that will lead to higher incomes as they mature. 

Luxury brands have traditionally aimed at the wealthiest and most affluent consumers. As a result, the lower-income mass-affluent HENRYs are often overlooked. Yet these are the next-generation customers that luxury brands must cultivate for their future.

Get a road map to the future

Danziger also takes you on a deep-dive into the steps the smartest of the traditional luxury brands and retailers are taking to keep up with a new generation of consumers who are anything but traditional in their approach to luxury spending.

“For years we have been warning about the new wave of consumers who will change the way we shop. They are here now and they’re called HENRYs,” says Neil Stern, senior partner McMillanDoolittle. “HENRYs have huge buying power but most importantly, a different set of values in how they think about and consume luxury. Pam’s book is treasure trove of insights and examples on how to appeal to these new consumers.”

In addition to explaining why HENRYs are the customers to watch and learn from, Danziger reveals 15 qualities and types of luxury that appeal to these younger trend-setting HENRY shoppers and gives examples of products and brands that have tuned into these new approaches to luxury.

Here are THREE to consider:

  • Luxury of Performance – TAG Heuer watch advertising has a new branding tagline, “Don’t Crack Under Pressure,” and its alignment with youth-skewing celebrity icons, like Super Bowl champ Tom Brady, super-model Cara Delevingne, and tennis star Maria Sharapova, are intended to resonate with HENRYs. TAG Heuer recognizes that today’s HENRY women, as well as men, appreciate the high-performance promise that is a foundation of the brand.
  • Luxury of Simplicity – Personal care and beauty brand Kiehl’s sells simplicity itself – simple product, simple ingredients, simple packaging – and extraordinary results. Its prominent “since 1851” heritage says a brand that has been around that long must be doing it right. Kiehl’s simplifies its packaging and presentation elegantly. Simplicity is hard to do, but beautiful to behold when it is achieved. “Less is more” becomes the guide to creating simple, elegant brands and brand stories.
  • Anti-Status Luxury – As a brand, Jeep defines its promise as “Vehicles enabling life’s extraordinary journeys.” It explains its goal to: “Provide vehicles that support a lifestyle of boundless freedom, responsible adventure, and are reliable, safe, fun and environmentally friendly.” Jeep is an experiential brand that most especially promises to take its owners outdoors, as well as to the grocery store or mall.

Through the many examples of how innovative break-through brands are tapping into these values in response to this new generation’s thirst for luxury products and experiences, this road map to the future of the luxury market will leave you with SIX transformative approaches to brand positioning that will help create a brand experience that HENRYs love.

From Paramount Market Publishing (272 pages, paperback, ISBN 978-194168-858-8; January 2019)
Review copies available to media.

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