The Roy Morgan Research Institute has conducted a national survey of Australia’s high-spending premium consumers, to identify their favourite brands for 2021.
Taking out the top spot on the list is American Express—which jumped two places since last year’s survey, displacing Vintage Cellars.
Despite travellers being unable to leave the country, Qantas (International) jumped one ranking to come in at third, and Harris Farm Markets jumped to fourth.
Audi dropped three places to take fifth spot just ahead of David Jones and UniSuper, both of which remain unchanged at sixth and seventh.
Lexus jumped two places to eighth on the list, making way for Freedom and Swedish budget furniture brand Ikea.
Harris Farm Markets, which operates 26 grocery stores in NSW, is of particular interest: the other winners are national or international brands. Roy Morgan said that 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 ninth) 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.
“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.”
In today’s recovering economy the premium market is thriving, Levine said.
“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.
“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.
“After exhaustive evaluation by our data scientists, Roy Morgan has selected the NEO consumer typology as our premiumisation data lens,” 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.”
Australia’s top-10 premium brands
- American Express
- Vintage Cellars (Coles Group)
- Qantas (International)
- Harris Farm Markets
- David Jones