Understanding British luxury retail shoppers
March 27th, 2024, Bhavika Bansal

Understanding British luxury retail shoppers

Great Britain's luxury goods sector is projected to generate a revenue of approximately GBP 13.61 billion in 2024 and experience an annual growth rate of 4.05%. A new YouGov analysis examines British luxury retail consumers, investigating their motivations for purchasing luxury goods and their buying habits.

Data from YouGov Profiles, an audience segmentation tool, reveals that 26% of all Britons say they have bought luxury products for themselves or as a gift for someone else in the past year (i.e. luxury retail shoppers). A tenth of Britons also say that the luxury goods they own, were received as a gift (10%).

A deeper look at the data reveals further insights into attitudes towards luxury products amongst Britons who have purchased them in the past 12 months - either for themselves or for someone else – compared to the broader British population on the whole.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, luxury retail shoppers are far likelier than the national average to pay more for luxury brands (45% vs. 27%) and to only buy the best-known brands (30% vs. 17%). 

Similarly, while more than two-thirds of luxury retails shoppers agree that luxury goods are premium quality products (70%), this proportion falls significantly amongst all Britons (49%).

Luxury retail shoppers also appear to prefer customisable options (42%) and are almost twice as likely as the national average to agree that luxury goods are a good investment (51%).

Why do Britons typically purchase luxury products?

A closer look luxury retail shoppers reveals that such purchases are most likely to be made as a reward or present for somebody else (42%).

More than a third of the group is likely to buy a luxury product as a reward for themselves (37%) and a quarter are likely do so since the quality of luxury goods is better (24%). Slightly more than a tenth say they are likely to buy luxury items as a collectible (11%) or as an investment (11%).

When do Britons typically buy luxury products?

Now that we know the reasons that typically motivate Britons to purchase luxury products, let's take a closer look at the occasions on which luxury retail shoppers they are most likely to make such purchases.

More than two-fifths of this group say they have bought a luxury product as a birthday gift for someone (43%) followed by one in five who have bought such products as a birthday gift for themselves (21%) or because they don’t need a special occasion to buy a luxury product (20%).

While 12% say they have made such a purchase for an anniversary, less than one out of ten say they have purchased a luxury product for a christening (4%) or as an apology (3%).

What are the top categories of luxury goods purchased by British luxury shoppers?

Fragrances top the list of luxury products purchased by British luxury retail shoppers in the past year (30%) followed by alcoholic beverages (26%) and accessories (25%).

Less than a fifth of luxury shoppers indicate that they have purchased luxury watches (18%), vacations (17%), bracelets (15%) and earrings (14%).

Spending habits of British luxury retail shoppers

More than half of Britons who have bought luxury goods in the past year say they have spent up to   £500 (51%).

Just a tenth of the group says they have spent between £1,000 and £2,500 (10%) on luxury products in the past 12 months followed by 9% who say they have spent upwards of £5,000.

Data from YouGov Profiles also sheds light on whether British luxury retail shoppers are likely to spend more or less on luxury goods this year than they did over the past 12 months.

More than a third of luxury shoppers say they are likely to spend the same amount on luxury goods this year, compared to the last (34%). On the other hand, more than a quarter of the group says they plan to spend lesser on luxury products than they did last year (29%).

Explore our living data – for free

Discover more retail content here

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 26 million+ members. Speak with us today.  

Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britons is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.