Wealthy U.S. shoppers earning at least $150,000 a year rank Nordstrom highest among luxury retailers in the 2012 Luxury Consumer Experience Index (LCEI) survey by the independent Luxury Institute. LCEI scores are based on customers' evaluations of a brand's store personnel, shopping environment and degree of satisfaction with the total experience, and this information is of particular importance in light of the growth of the prestige beauty category recently.
Nordstrom earns the top overall score of 8.41 out of 10, followed by Neiman Marcus' Bergdorf Goodman subsidiary (8.37) and Barneys New York (8.23). It is also the most widely visited luxury retailer, with 36% of wealthy consumers reporting shopping at Nordstrom in the past 12 months. Only 7% of shoppers have visited Barneys, and 6% have shopped at Bergdorf Goodman, but exclusivity helps with pricing: 76% of Bergdorf's shoppers and 74% of Barneys' say that goods in those stores are worth a significant price premium; 65% say the same about Nordstrom's merchandise.
"Retailers, especially in luxury, are selling experiences to customers more than they are selling any particular good," says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. "In the case of a retailer like Nordstrom, we see that a program of continuous improvement in the customer experience can lead to higher degrees of loyalty and improved financial performance."
In addition to its top overall LCEI score, Seattle-based Nordstrom ranks first on two critical measures of customer loyalty: 96% of high-income shoppers plan to shop at Nordstrom again, and 94% recommend Nordstrom to family and close friends.
Survey participants reported average income of $292,000 and average net worth of $3 million.