Clientbook Blog
May 3, 2023

Stealth wealth: What it is and how it impacts luxury retail brands

For high-end jewelers, fashion boutiques, and furniture stores, your target customer is likely an affluent consumer with money to spare. Because of this, paying attention to the trends among the wealthy is crucial for retailers. 

One of the most recent trends that has resurfaced among the upper class is known as "stealth wealth", where money isn't flaunted, but almost concealed. 

If you're new to the trend and wondering how it can influence retailers, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll discuss what stealth wealth is, how it impacts consumer behavior, and what retailers can do to cater to stealth wealthers at their store. 

What is stealth wealth? 

Stealth wealth, also known as quiet luxury, is when those at a higher income level choose not to outwardly display their wealth in flashy or obvious ways.

This includes avoiding designer brands with big logos, keeping pictures of fancy vacations off their social media, or not openly talking to friends or family about their true wealth or the exact amounts of money they truly have. By adopting a stealth wealth lifestyle, rich people live a more middle class life and keep their assets private.

The reasons why someone would want to keep their financial situation more private are varied. Some are worried about their public perception, while others want security from scams targeting wealthy people, or even to avoid unwanted money requests from friends or family. 

Whatever the reason, the stealth wealth trend is growing in popularity, with recent examples found in Gwyneth Paltrow's courtroom outfits and in the fictional world of the HBO series Succession

Why is stealth wealth important for retailers? 

For luxury retailers selling designer bags, expensive clothes, or other premium items that encourage a more public display of wealth, the stealth wealth trend may appear to have unfortunate consequences on your business. However, it doesn't have to be that way. You may just have to adapt your approach. 

Let's go over a few of the trends that stealth wealth has brought on and how retailers can cater to this kind of life. 

The wealthy are adopting a more subtle dress code  

For stealth wealthers, designer heels and big logoed Louis Vuitton bags are out and understated luxury is in. With this more subtle dress code brings a demand for luxury items that don't scream luxury. 

This can look like replacing a Prada coat for a neutral cashmere sweater, or the flashy diamond earrings for small gold hoops. It's "low-key" rich, where the products are still expensive, but not apparently so. These kinds of items are considered stealth wealth symbols.

So as a high-end retailer, promoting your luxury products that don't give off the appearance of wealth is a great way to attract those who have adopted a stealth wealth approach to life. 

Spending money simply to impress people is dying out

Next, given that the main goal of stealth wealth is to avoid attention from people, spending mass amounts of money simply to get a reaction from those in your social circles is definitely out of vogue.

Rather than taking a luxurious vacation just for the photos or buying a dress just because it's the latest fashion trend, stealth wealthers aim to live a more responsible life and are more careful with their spending. 

So what does that mean for retailers? Your products need to offer real value. For example, a fashion retailer needs to focus on the high-quality of their pieces and how the material they're made with are made to last. Or a high-end furniture store may want to focus more on the experiences and memories a homeowner will have at the dinner table they're considering buying. 

Remember that it's not about impressing with a flashy lifestyle—it's about downplaying wealth while still enjoying quality. 

Economic conditions may make stealth wealth even more popular     

Finally, keep in mind that even the upper class aren't always immune to economic instability. Forbes reports that even the richest people today are feeling the effects of economic uncertainty, with a "richcession" potentially on its way.

While they're likely far from true financial hardship, it can change some of their financial decisions and spending habits, making a trend like stealth wealth even more attractive. 

For a retailer, this goes back to really pushing the value of your products. While someone may not immediately think of the financial practicality of buying an expensive coat, investing in a nice coat once is better than buying cheaper ones over and over.

What's more, really leaning into the look a buyer will achieve and the person they can be in the products you're selling is key to earning their trust and encouraging a sale. 

How to acquire and retain high-spending customers

While the stealth wealth trend seems worrisome on the surface, it doesn't have to be for luxury retailers. Attracting and retaining customers with extra income to spend—but ones that don't want to be flashy about it—all comes down to trust. 

By getting to know a buyer's personal style, how they want to present themselves, and who they want to be, you can better cater to their needs and earn their business. 

Clienteling is an excellent way to do this. Clienteling is a retail strategy where retail sales associates use relationship selling techniques to personally get to know customers who come into their store and follow up with them often to encourage repeat business.

Clienteling software like Clientbook makes this even easier for retailers. With a tool like Clientbook, sales associates can easily collect and record customer data, create custom wish lists for each of their key customers, and even text buyers with personalized product recommendations to get them back in your store. 

Want to see Clientbook's software yourself? Meet with an expert today

Conclusion 

While stealth wealth isn't a new money trend, it's cropping up among today's media and celebrities, giving it extra attention. But you don't have to worry about what it's going to do to your business—especially if you're actively working to earn the trust and loyalty of your buyers through effective clienteling. 

If you're ready to see how clienteling with Clientbook can help you attract and retain your most affluent customers, book a demo today

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