Old money, new money, or wannabe?

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There are four types of luxury consumers in South Africa, according to Dr Inka Crosswaite:

l The “money aristocracy” are familiar with luxury and are confident navigating it. They are aware of their status and, being part of the establishment, have an interest in classic brands, but are not ostentatious in their consumption and may even be frugal spenders.

l The “established business magnate” experiences luxury as a way of life and values uniqueness and limited-edition objects which are expensive and highly collectible. He or she is status-conscious, but displays this through connoisseurship and distinction, not flamboyant consumption.

l The “self-made” or “new money” has a very different upbringing, lifestyle and education to that of “old money”. For them, luxury goods are perceived to offer higher quality and are worth paying for, but they are constantly educating themselves in the concept of luxury. They have a strong drive to learn what it means to be truly affluent and what it means to be associated with money. Brands help them to attain a desired sense of self and individualism, as well as accomplishment and “having made it”. Their status, therefore, is displayed outwardly via luxury goods and services.

l The “deluxe aspirer” is from the growing population of wealthy upper-middle class individuals en route to enter the world of luxury. These are often South African politicians or self-made people with limited education but with enormous drive, a high need for distinction and a “go-getter” mentality. They buy luxury premium goods to show off their success. If their peers don’t recognise the value of their possessions, their money has been wasted. For them status skills are less important, as it is all about “show-time”.


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