February 18, 2021

It’s Official: American Express is Australia’s #1 Premium Brand

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8647
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As the two-speed recovery gains momentum, the Roy Morgan Research Institute has conducted a national survey of Australia’s high-spending premium consumers to identify their favourite brands – and the results are in.

As the two-speed recovery gains momentum, the Roy Morgan Research Institute has conducted a national survey of Australia’s high-spending premium consumers to identify their favourite brands – and the results are in.

Australia’s top-10 premium brands are:1. American Express2. Vintage Cellars (Coles Group)3. Qantas (international)4. Harris Farm Markets5. Audi6. David Jones7. UniSuper8. Lexus9. Freedom10. Ikea

American Express jumped two places since last year’s survey to take the number 1 spot, displacing Vintage Cellars. 

Qantas (International) and Harris Farm Markets each jumped one ranking to come in at 3rd and 4th.

Audi dropped three places to take fifth spot just ahead of David Jones and UniSuper, both of which remain unchanged at 6 and 7.

Lexus jumped two places to 8 making way for Freedom and Ikea.

Harris Farm Markets which operates 26 grocery stores in NSW is of particular interest. 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 Farm.

In the hyper competitive auto market Lexus appears to be closing in on Audi. And despite its recent challenges, David Jones appears to retain its brand attractiveness to premium spenders.

In a year with very little international travel, the improvement of Qantas (International) appears surprising. Less surprising perhaps is the relegation of Emirates (previously #9) out of the top-10.

Zara was also relegated this year.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, “Our list of premium brands is determined by the proportion of high-value consumers known as NEOs, short for new economic order that each brand enjoys.

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“It is common knowledge that the credit card market in in decline, what with debit cards and Buy Now Pay Later brands like Afterpay.

“And while NEOs love BNPL and debit cards more than anyone else, their romance with credit cards continues – particularly American Express which has tapped into the NEO Zeitgeist.

“NEOs are driving the fast lane of the two-speed recovery and are expressing their pent-up demand buying new cars and renovating their nests, so it makes sense therefore that two furniture retailers – Freedom and Ikea – have joined the top-10 list.

“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 recovering 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 NEO 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 term premium applies not only to brands and experiences, but also to consumers.

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“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 recovery, and (b) they can now reach, motivate, and acquire these truly premium consumers as their most valuable customers.”

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%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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