Affluent conversation, Part I
Luxury is a “national obsession” in the UAE, say advertising industry analysts, adding that to push posh products, marketers must make consumers feel special. Part I
December 21, 2008 2:25 by Kareem Shaheen
The buck doesn’t stop there. As these luxury fashion companies consolidate their brand loyalty among their customers, they open up additional marketing and sales venues. 57 percent of UAE consumers said they would buy luxury fashion-branded mobile phones, a number much larger than the global average. This trend extends to other consumer electronics and even kitchen appliances, according to the survey results, which makes sense for a country where 43 percent of consumers – the highest in the world – believe that luxury brands offer significantly higher quality than regular products.
But even with opportunities galore for luxury marketers to try and sell diversified lineups, do they really want to? “Luxury is becoming so commoditized as a word,” says Premal Patel, the Middle East’s senior director of marketing for American Express. “Even the middle-income mass affluent segment has access to luxury brands.”
This expansion in middle-class wealth means that luxury brand marketers who appeal to that exclusive segment need to shore up their brand loyalty. “If the top-end people feel that every Joe Public can get a hold of the product, they will go somewhere else because they cannot get a hold of that exclusivity,” says Patel. “Loyalty now is the organization’s loyalty to the customer. It’s not the customer’s loyalty to you.”