In a survey of more than 1,000 luxury consumers (average income $149,100, average age 43.4 years) conducted by Unity Marketing, a consulting company in Stevens, Pa., 52% of respondents reported that enjoyment and pleasure were important factors when making their most recent purchases of luxury goods and experiences. (For other important motivating factors, see chart at right.)

“What luxury marketers and retailers learn from these findings is that they need to keep the consumers' joy and pleasure front and center when it comes to positioning their brands, developing marketing messages, and designing their products,” says Pam Danziger, consumer insight expert, and founder and president of Unity Marketing (

Of far less importance as motivators for affluent consumers are exclusivity (13% rated this very important, and 59% said it was unimportant or not needed), status (9% very important, and 71% unimportant or not needed), and social standing (7% very important, and 73% unimportant or not needed).

These lowest-ranked values are of slightly more importance to super-affluent consumers (income of $150,000 and above) than they are to the lower-income segment of the luxury market. “Perhaps one needs to achieve a certain minimum level of income for these societal and status factors to enter into the luxury equation. For example, how much social status can a near-affluent luxury consumer ($75,000 to $99,999) achieve through luxury purchases given their lesser spending power? On the other hand, the super-affluent — with their significantly higher incomes — have the means to achieve a level of perceived status through luxury purchases, so having the means may give them the motive,” Danziger says.