Readers reach out for premium brands

From the humble Mercedes to vanilla-bean ice cream, ROB PYNE discovers the emma data that shows Australians are spoilt – spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury

Infographic_Luxury_DIGITALThe luxury market in Australia is powering ahead. It’s currently worth around $1bn and has been growing at 11 per cent a year for the last five years.

We’ve seen the entry of new luxury brands, such as Christian Dior opening flagship retail stores. We’ve also seen the boundaries blur between “luxury” and “premium”.

Luxury brands are offering lower entry points. For example, you can drive away in a new A180 Mercedes for less than $40,000.

To compete, mass market brands are offering premium versions of their products. Coles has its “Coles Finest” range that includes such delights as Coles Finest Madagascan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Murray River Salted Caramel (yours for $7.15 for 500ml).

We thought we’d dig into what emmaTM has to say about luxury and premium trends by looking at some year-on-year comparisons.

Luxury & Premium Growing

emmaTM data shows that in the last 12 months, the following luxury and premium items have gained traction in Australia.

In the car category, the three German manufacturers have improved their numbers:

  • BMW consideration is slightly up, from 735,000 people to 778,000.
  • Audi is nudging forward, from 654,000 people considering it to 726,000.
  • Mercedes Benz has closed the gap by increasing from 554,000 to 628,000 considerers.

Between these three brands, plus Porsche and Bentley, there are an extra 158,000 people considering buying a luxury car year on year.

The trend towards premiumisation of everyday products has been widely reported in categories ranging from alcohol to soup and even pet food.

Within the beer category, we see marginal increases in brand consideration for Budweiser, Sol and Grolsch but more pronounced decreases for Crown, VB, Pure Blonde, Resch’s and Foster’s.

Premiums soups continue to gain market acceptance – the ones that come in “sleeves” and sell for up to $10. In 2013, 1.55m people claimed to be buying them, and in 2014 this has risen to 1.68m people, according to emma.

Premiumisation doesn’t stop at humans. Man’s best friend is pampered, too. Premium dog food brands, such as Julius, Optimum and Royal Canin, show rises in usage at the expense of mass brands such as Chum and Beneful.

High end experiences

The largest rise in the premium services category is for pet care, with an extra 160,000 claiming they used a pet care service in the last four weeks. That makes for some spoiled pooches with their premium food and pedicures.

A similar increase for personal grooming services for humans is also evident, up from 1.64m users to 1.79m in a year.

More of us want to stump up to get in the pointy ends of aeroplanes, with the number saying they’ll travel First Class on their next international flight up from 107,000 to 121,000. Of course, if that keeps going up, they might have to install bunk beds in those luxury suites to accommodate everyone.

And lastly, if you want to dress up in your finest and hit the town for a discerning evening of entertainment, you’ll note that your average art gallery, exhibition or museum has more people in it (+4% year-on-year) while the average audience for theatre performance is down five per cent. Ballet, opera and orchestral concerts have flat-lined.

The role of newspapers

When it comes to a luxury or premium consumer, emmaTM clearly shows people who buy luxury and premium goods and services are highly likely to consume newspaper media. This makes newspaper media a leading option for a wide range of luxury and premium marketers.

Goods and Services

Index for heavy newspaper consumption (7+/week) Index on reading online newspaper last 4 weeks
Considering a luxury car Index 109 Index 117
Drinking premium beer Index 119 Index 116
Buying premium soup Index 118 Index 101
Using pet care services Index 109 Index 102
Intend to fly premium economy, business or first class Index 123 Index 106
Go to an art gallery, museum, exhibition, theatre, ballet or opera Index 121 Index 110


Slowly but surely, luxury and premium options are creeping into more areas of our lives. Luxury brands are using more price points so their entry level is lower. And mass market brands are launching more expensive, premium versions to liberate consumers of unwanted extra cash.

Luxury is becoming more accessible and experiential. Putting it all together, look out for first class plane suites for pets. And don’t try reverse parking near your favourite Art Gallery for fear of bumping a new Bentley or poking a sparkly Porsche.



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