How AI can help boost the luxury market

A new report from EntSight looks at how increasingly sophisticated audience intelligence can help brands better target customers – in this case, in the luxury goods sector.

The report looks at marketing challenges of the industry, using internal and external data and insight from social media and online conversations to build a clear picture of audiences’ preferences, behaviours and motivations as well as identifying current and emerging trends.

The report, from audience intelligence research consultancy Entsight, features analysis of online and social media conversation relating to 38 leading luxury watch and jewellery brands, across four categories – major players, prestige and luxury, high end and mid range. Each category features insights and analysis of conversation share, sentiment, key topics, demographics, geography and consumer behaviours.

Key insights from the report include:

• Rolex was the most talked about brand overall, with its sponsorship of sports events driving significant visibility for the brand online and on social media

• Out of the five main luxury watch and jewellery groups LVMH saw the highest share overall, driven by audience’s strong interest in brands such as Hublot, Tag Heuer and Bulgari

• Analysis of conversations relating to smartwatches compared to luxury watches confirmed a much larger conversation share for smartwatches, however this has decreased drastically since April 2015 whilst sentiment towards smartwatches is less positive than for any category of luxury watches

• With the exception of a few in the mid range category, there is little that would suggest that technology is a prominent interest for these brand audiences. Technology was a prominent interest for brands in the mid range category however, which suggests that Tag Heuer’s ‘connected’ smartwatch was a clever move – especially when considering the amount of conversation it has generated for the brand over the past 18 months. It is also fair to say that this product has helped create the foundation for premium smartwatches in the future

• Additionally, whilst smartwatches certainly saw a much larger share of conversation compared to luxury watch and jewellery categories, our analysis of available online and social conversation confirmed that this has fallen off considerably since the Apple Watch was launched in the first half of 2015

• With the exception of ‘high end’, where brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Faberge drove the conversation from female audiences, all categories saw a higher share of conversation from males

• Sports and music were the most prominent interest across all categories, whilst executives and creatives were the professions who talked about the brands the most overall

• All brand categories showed advocacy as the most prominent consumer behaviour – suggesting a significant amount of ‘brand love’, which can be leveraged for campaigns and activations. For example Kendall Jenner wearing a Chopard product at Cannes

• Celebrity endorsement can also be a powerful tool to enter new markets, as can be seen as a result of Piaget’s partnership with Korean actor and singer Choi Siwon

Edward Bass, Co-Founder and Director at EntSight comments: “Audience intelligence offers brands the opportunity to build a defined picture of their customers and potential customers – understanding their preferences, habits and motivations and ultimately the best means to engage and inspire them.

“Brands driven by this data and intelligence are able to speak directly to their audiences. Brands who are not and focus on addressing only broader audience groups and demographics with outdated methods will eventually find that over time they become less and less visible within the ever-growing digital noise.

“The luxury watch and jewellery industry has predominantly focused on traditional advertising and marketing methods. However, with social media and online marketing now a primary focus for many luxury watch and jewellery brands it makes sense that the data and intelligence that can be obtained from these channels is used to better understand audiences and build highly informed campaigns and strategies. Not only this, it is also vital for the industry to respond to changing customer expectations and demands.

“The report also reveals interesting insight into audience perception of smartwatches, which is particularly timely given Apple’s recent announcement of its Watch Series 2 and its apparent withdrawal from the luxury market. We feel it is worth remembering that, whilst they are likely to be a long term success, smartwatches are unlikely to be a replacement for the treasured and lifetime purchase of a luxury watch. In this sense we don’t believe that they are currently a direct commercial threat to any of the categories analysed here, but instead represent an opportunity for some brands to engage new audiences in a creative exploration of how smartwatch features can integrate with classic luxury watches.

“From CMO’s through to Strategists and Digital Managers this report provides marketing professionals the intelligence they need to thrive in an increasingly data driven and customer focused world.”