As the economy slows, the Roy Morgan Research Institute conducted a national survey of Australia’s high-spending premium consumers and compared them with traditional consumers to identify the brands that attract the most premium consumers – and the results are startling.
Australia’s top-10 premium brands are:
- Vintage Cellars (Coles Group)
- American Express
- Qantas (international)
- Harris Farms Markets
- David Jones
Of that list, the most surprising is Harris Farms Markets which operates 26 grocery stores in NSW. The other winners are national or international brands, so for a single-state brand to have sufficient support is both unusual and a plaudit for Harris Farms.
Vintage Cellars is the standout premium brand both nationally and in the Coles Group retail stable. And despite its recent challenges, the David Jones brand appears to retain attractiveness to premium spenders.
Overall, the economic news is gloomy. The economy is slowing with consumer spending in decline. ABS data released last week showed that consumer spending was outstripped by household saving for the first time in five years, while the retail sector has slumped to its weakest level since the 1990s.
That there are three retail brands in the top-10 appears surprising given the ABS results. However, according to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine there is a simple explanation.
“In the media we hear one day that consumers are radically cutting back, and the next they are buying more local produce, personal services or cool technology. So, what’s going on?
“The truth is we’re doing both – we’re in a two-speed economy.
“The word ‘premiumisation’ is on the lips of business leaders eyeing off the economic fast lane while, at the same time, the slow lane is becoming even more commoditised. In today’s slowing economy the premium market is thriving.
“This appears confusing until you put a premium lens on our deep data to reveal that while there are 10 million Australian consumers dawdling in the economy’s slow lane, there are 4.7 million premium consumers racing in the fast lane. These premium consumers are big spenders in any economic cycle – right now, 91 percent of them are in the top third of elective spenders in the economy.
“The difference between winners and losers has never been more stark.”
The term premium applies not only to brands and experiences, but also to consumers.
“After exhaustive evaluation by our data scientists, Roy Morgan has selected the NEO consumer typology as our premiumisation data lens,” Michele Levine said.
“Business leaders are now recession-proofing their brands by recognising (a) there is a two-speed economy, and (b) they can now reach, motivate, and acquire these truly premium consumers as their most valuable customers.”
Roy Morgan conducted in-depth face-to-face interviews in the homes of over 50,000 Australians per year over the last five years (October 2014 – September 2019) to determine which leading brands attract Australia’s premium consumers. To qualify for inclusion a minimum of 200 premium consumers (NEOs) of that brand were interviewed during that period.
Australia’s top 10 premium brands are those that attract the highest proportion of premium consumers (NEOs) as a part of their customer base. Table-topping Vintage Cellars (54%), Audi (52%) and American Express (51%) all have customer bases of which over half are premium consumers – NEOs.
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Margin of Error
The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.
|Sample Size||Percentage Estimate|
|40% – 60%||25% or 75%||10% or 90%||5% or 95%|