NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - March 03, 2015) - A new survey of high-income households, by the New York-based Luxury Institute, illustrates sharp contrasts in how consumer attitudes and behaviors, with regard to luxury brands, vary across generations. Differences are most notable in the degree to which consumers have adopted new technology, and how it has influenced their purchase decisions and shaped relationships with luxury firms.

Among U.S. consumers from households with minimum annual income of $150,000, 75% of Millennials (under the age of 35) and GenerationXers (35-49) say that technology is changing the way they shop for luxury brands, and nearly three quarters of younger consumers also say that technology allows them to make more luxury purchases. Boomers (61%) and consumers 65 and older (47%) are less likely to acknowledge the influence of the Web, mobile Internet, and to agree that it stimulates luxury spending.

Age exerts a strong influence on how consumers shop and buy. While just 10% of consumers 50 years of age and older prefer to shop online for luxury brands, 38% of GenXers and 35% of Millennials prefer the online channel. Free shipping is the most widely desired feature of a luxury brand's online shopping experience, particularly among respondents 50 and older. Younger shoppers are also likely to want the ability to shop for all items online and to receive product recommendations based on items they have viewed.

Intergenerational differences are also evident in the influence of online and social media on purchase decisions. For example, 72% of Millennials and 51% of GenXers follow fashion bloggers, compared to just 15% of Boomers. Most importantly, 90% of wealthy consumers who follow fashion bloggers buy from sites recommended in those blogs, making an average of 4.2 purchases in the past year.

"Successful luxury firms know the importance of understanding who their customers are and how they want to interact with the brand," says Luxury Institute CEO, Milton Pedraza. "The pervasive influence of technology on younger consumers underscores the need to focus resources on digital efforts to cultivate the next generation of luxury consumers."

Survey respondents reported average household income of $318,000 and $3.1 million average net worth.

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Katherine Sousa