Affluencers Are A Luxury Brand's New Best Friend. Here’s Why.


Limei Hoang | May 17, 2021

Credit: Chelsea Gates on Unsplash.

Affluent consumers who also influence others’ shopping and buying habits will be the new focus of an academic and research collaboration between TikTok, Launchmetrics, Université of Côte d'Azur and the City of Cannes, signalling the growing importance of this subset of influencers.

When it comes to a luxury brand’s understanding of their customer, one type comes to mind as the top profile to target: the affluencer.

Defined as affluent consumers with a household income of more than $100,000 and more than 5,000 followers on social who influence others’ shopping and buying behaviours, affluencers are a fairly recent development in the world of influencers, and are believed to be in the perfect position to help brands increase awareness.

The attraction of gaining a deeper understanding of this customer was so alluring, that TikTok, Launchmetrics, the Université of Côte d'Azur and the City of Cannes teamed up to create a new academic and research collaboration focused on the subject.

“Affluencers are the perfect customers,” Michael Jais, CEO of Launchmetrics told Luxury Society in an interview. “Previously, it was really hard to identify this type of customer profile, but now thanks to social media, media publications and the evolution of technology, it has become easier to try to understand this consumer, understand the trends and somehow predict what’s going to happen in the coming years.”

“Our analysis shows that there are more than 100 million people that we consider affluencers, who we define as affluent millennials that are also influential, and who have more than 100K in earnings and more than 5,000 followers on social,” he added.

The project, which will be composed of three parts: research, academic and a start-up acceleration programme, aims to use a scientific approach to study the behaviour and emotions of millennial consumers using methods like artificial intelligence, deep learning, and predictive analysis as well as launching a Master’s degree and a studio to help develop local entrepreneurship.

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Part of the reason that Jais decided to help launch the collaboration was to provide a deeper understanding of how luxury marketing has changed over the past year since the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, and how brands could navigate the new methods and approaches needed to reach modern consumers.

“We've seen more change in the last six to nine months than during the last decade or so and I think that everybody is listening to the fact that digital should be a really integrated part of any marketing strategy,” said Jais.

“It’s really a need to better understand what’s going on and how to optimise everything,” he added, noting the changing profile of the luxury customer, the increase in market share from Chinese consumers and the numerous touch points that are needed to reach luxury customers today.

“The most important change that I’ve seen is the shift in luxury brands in how they are trying to understand the audience they want to target, then the channel and finally the content depending on the channel,” he said.

Jais is hoping that the collaboration will help establish Cannes as a luxury tech hub, thanks to its proximity to wealthy investors, high-end luxury consumers and glamorous connections to the film industry and creative types.

And there is no shortage of big names involved including LVMH and Clarins, as well as the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, all of whom will collaborate on field projects and research collaborations for the Master’s programme, which will launch in October and take on up to 30 students.

“The idea is really to be connected to luxury,” said Jais, who added that the project would seek to create three different types of profile to help bring more value to brands in the future.

“I think that if you link data and technology, business and creative together, you can really increase the value you bring to the brand,” he added. “That is a very, very similar challenge that luxury brands face when it comes to data and technology: how do you make teams of data, of tech and fashion and luxury? Which is the whole idea of the programme.”

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