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The Royal Touch: UK & British Luxury Brands Receive Boost from Popularity of Young Royals 

Kate Middleton is most powerful Royal Influencer, as 76% of Americans are now more favourable towards brand UK and 53% believe the US should join The Commonwealth

New York, October 25rd 2018 – The younger members of the Royal family have re-energised interest in the UK among Americans and re-ignited the love affair with all things British a report launched today revealed. Such is the positive association with the United Kingdom, that 53% of those surveyed believe the US should join The Commonwealth. 

Walpole, the sector body for the British luxury industry which counts 250 of the UK’s finest luxury brands amongst its members, and Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent branded business valuation and strategy consultancy, commissioned the report into American attitudes to the UK, British brands and the Royal Family.

Key Findings included:

·         The Duchess of Cambridge’s (Kate Middleton) royal endorsement is most powerful Royal Influencer, with the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) in close second.

·         The Special Relationship goes from strength to strength with 66% of Americans saying they “Love” or “Quite Like” the UK, well ahead of other European Countries (France 57%, Germany 52%)

·         53% of Americans polled believe US should join the Commonwealth.

·         Driven by TV shows such as The Crown and Downtown Abbey, as well as coverage of the Royal Weddings, 76% of Americans say they are more favourable towards the UK and 73% say they are more favourable towards UK products and brands now than they were 2 to 3 years ago.

·         Americans between 25 and 45, the generation of the young Royals, are the most positive about the UK and the Royal Family. Both young and a high-spending demographic, they ensure future popularity of Britain and its export.

·         Thanks to the style of Kate and Meghan, a third of US population considers UK a world leader in fashion. 

Alex Haigh, Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“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.”

Haigh commented further:

“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.”

The Royal effect also reaches beyond fashion and even into the automotive industry. For both the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, 39% of American women say they would be more likely to buy a car if it were used or suggested by those two royals the research showed. Both royals regularly use Land Rovers, Jaguars and Aston Martins.

Helen Brocklebank, CEO, Walpole said:

“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.”

“Not only is the US the single biggest market for British luxury, but also it offers a huge growth opportunity for the sector, as the appetite of the US customer for our brands and services grows every year. I’m hugely excited about this research and our returning to New York to show the creativity and innovation that typifies luxury in the UK, and to fly the flag for Britain for US visitors thinking of making a trip here,” Brocklebank added.

The transatlantic trading relationship for the British luxury sector, whether driven by luxury goods on sale in the United States or American tourists visiting the UK, has never been more valuable. Almost 80% of what the British luxury sector produces is destined to export and as the United Kingdom navigates its departure from the European Union the luxury sector is forging ahead with strengthening its trade and investment ties with its key export markets through its trade delegation to New York.

America is the largest and most important luxury market in the world valued at $85 billion, forecast to reach $103.5 billion by 2021 (Source: Euromonitor, 2016). New York alone accounts for $25.5 billion or almost one third of the total US luxury market size (Bain 2014) and 75% of British luxury brands have identified the US as a priority growth market 2021 (Source: Walpole and McKinsey & Co: Key Growth Drivers of British Luxury, 2016).

The USA is also the UK’s most valuable source market for visitor spending in Britain. According to Visit Britain, 3.91 million Americans visited the UK in 2017, an annual increase of 13.16% on the previous year, and spent a total £3.64 billion with an average single transaction spend of £813 (Source: Global Blue). The leisure market leads the reasons to visit the UK and holidays account for 45% of all visits to the UK. When here, American travellers show a strong emotional connection to luxury, with rich history and collectability leading the reasons to buy luxury products (Source: YouGov Affluent Perspective).

New York Trade Delegation

This week a delegation of 17 British luxury brands led by Michael Ward, Chairman of Walpole and MD Harrods and Walpole’s CEO, Helen Brocklebank held a programme of events in New York to build long-term relationships that drive export opportunities by engaging with top business leaders, buyers and media. 

The three-day event spanned an insights briefing on US media and the luxury landscape, commercial and diplomatic meetings, and an experiential media showcase at The Glass Houses. Glenda Bailey OBE, editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar, was honoured with an Award for Excellence for her work to promote British luxury overseas at an event launched by Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, The Right Honourable Liam Fox MP.

- Ends –

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading branded business valuation and strategy consultancy, with offices in over 20 countries. We provide clarity to marketers, brand managers and investors by quantifying the financial value of brands. Drawing on expertise in strategy, branding, market research, visual identity, finance, tax and intellectual property, Brand Finance helps clients make the right decisions to maximise brand and business value and bridges the gap between marketing and finance.

About Walpole

Walpole is the official sector body for UK luxury. Founded in 1992 as a not-for-profit organisation, it counts more than 210 British brands in its membership and is recognised in both Westminster and Brussels. As the voice of British luxury, Walpole’s purpose is to promote, protect and develop a sector worth £32.2 billion to the UK economy and the jewel in the crown of UK business.

Walpole actively seeks out UK and international business opportunities, promoting growth in the industry through a programme of initiatives, including the annual trade mission and press showcase to the US. As founders of the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance (ECCIA), Walpole cements and champions relationships with Europe’s luxury and creative sectors, lobbying the EU on key policy issues like selective distribution and IP protection, and supporting pan-European business and cultural connections post-Brexit.

Dedicated to creating a pipeline of growth for Britain’s luxury brands, Walpole also runs the annual mentoring programmes Brands of Tomorrow and the Programme in Luxury Management at London Business School.

About New West End Company

New West End Company is a global partnership of 600 retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners across 74 streets in the world’s top shopping and leisure destination anchored by Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street. 

It works in partnership delivering transformational projects, sustainable place management, destination marketing, advocacy, inward investment and commercial insights.  

It has a solid reputation amongst its customers and stakeholders across London as a champion for the businesses it represents, continually attracting visitors and investment to the district. It is an influential business voice, active in the wider community and a key partner in delivering a new West End.

Research Methodology 

For this report, Brand Finance conducted an independent online survey among a total of 1,515 US adults. The sample had two components: 

1.    A ‘Nationally-Representative’ sample of 510 Americans aged 18 and over.  This sample was designed to provide a snapshot of the views of a cross-section of the US population on issues such as ties to the UK and the Royal Family.  The sample was controlled to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. 

2.    A ‘Metro Upscale’ sample of 1,005 Americans aged 21-65.  This sample was selected to focus on those parts of the US population likely to be somewhat more relevant as a broad target for UK premium and luxury brands.  We selected respondents from one of thirteen major metropolitan areas, and the median household income of the sample was around $90,000. 

The cities selected were: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC. Fieldwork was conducted utilising the online research panel of Toluna, drawing respondents from Toluna’s opt-in panel of over 4,000,000 US residents.

Media Contacts

Sehr Sarwar
Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)2073 899 400
M: +44 (0)7966 963 669
s.sarwar@brandfinance.com

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