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Sales Associates Greatly Influence Wealthy Shoppers' Jewelry Purchases

Jun 23, 2015 10:32 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Sales associates wield great purchasing influence over wealthy shoppers who visit a jeweler, according to proprietary research by the Luxury Institute, which measured buying habits across seven product categories. Furthermore, only a minority of wealthy consumers make a luxury goods purchase after researching what they intend to buy -- the only exceptions were for men who shop for watches and women who buy beauty products, the group found.

The Institute noted that wealthy women were much more likely to  rely on what they see and experience "in the store" when making a purchase, while men may have spent some time researching -- their purchase decision, too, is made in the store. Jewelry purchasing habits were found to have the widest gap between wealthy men and women, with 49 percent of wealthy women relying solely on what they experienced inside a store, compared with 21 percent of men.

When a new product is introduced to the market, the Luxury Institute found that men and women are more likely to visit a store and view displays and products without seeking the help of a sales associate.

Still, 37 percent of men who bought jewelry and 33 percent who purchased a watch, reported that "obtaining assistance or recommendations" in the store from a sales associate was the best way to learn about the product. In addition, 38 percent of men browsed product offerings on the retailer's website or app and only 10 percent selected to email or chat with a sales associate to inquire about jewelry and watches.

Browsing a store or manufacturer's website is the second most preferred way for women to discover new products, the survey revealed. Still, when making a watch purchase, 26 percent of wealthy women preferred to engage a sales associate in the store and 24 percent spoke with sales staff to learn about new jewelry products.

"With multiple points of information, wealthy consumers have become very savvy shoppers, but our findings show that brands and retailers should not underestimate the potential for sales associates to influence and drive purchase decisions," said Luxury Institute's CEO, Milton Pedraza. "With proper training in relationship building, along with incentives to produce, store personnel can provide a significant boost to sales across luxury categories."

Survey respondents earned at least $150,000 per year -- the average income was $289,000 -- and the average net worth was $2.9 million.

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Tags: Consumers, Jeff Miller, jewelers, Jewelry, Luxury Institute, sales, spending, staff, training, watches, wealthy
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