Young royals give UK luxury brands a US boost, report finds
The widely reported ‘Meghan Markle effect’ is proving strong, but Kate Middleton remains the most powerful royal influencer, according to a new report from Brand Finance.
Commissioned by Walpole, the sector body for the British luxury industry, Brand Finance conducted an online survey among more than 1,500 US adults. It found that the younger members of the British royal family are helping boost the popularity of UK luxury brands with US consumers, particularly among the 25-45 year old demographic.
Meanwhile, TV shows such as The Crown and Downton Abbey, coupled with the coverage of the royal weddings, have meant that 73% of US consumers now feel more favourable towards UK brands than they did two to three years ago.
“The monarchy is one of the most defining features of Brand Britain and the royal impact on the desirability of British luxury brands cannot be overstated. Interaction between a brand and any royal, but particularly the Duchesses, is like the mythical golden touch and can transform a brand’s performance overnight,” commented Alex Haigh, director of Brand Finance.
“Recent examples of this effect include Meghan Markle wearing Finlay and Co sunglasses, which created a US revenue increase of 2700%. A white coat by Line the Label sold out within minutes of her wearing it publicly, and the huge demand for the clothing caused their website to crash. Searches for the Strathberry Bag Meghan Markle took to her first official engagement with Prince Harry increased 2,044%, causing the stock to sell out in just 11 minutes.”
Helen Brocklebank, chief executive of Walpole, added: “The arrival of the Young Royals has renewed the world’s enthusiasm for all things British. We are not only seeing a strong increase in demand for luxury goods and of course fashion but also tourism is up. What is most interesting is the appeal of Brand UK and the Young Royals to the 25-40-year-old American consumers. This is a demographic that had previously not been engaged.”
US shoppers, both at home or visiting the UK, are of particular interest for the UK luxury sector. According to Visit Britain, 3.91 million Americans visited the UK in 2017, spending a total £3.64 billion with an average single transaction spend of £813. The American luxury market is also the largest in the world, valued at $85 billion.
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