Walpole & Brand Finance report: The Royal Touch  

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 from Walpole and Brand Finance, has found. The report was commissioned to discover American attitudes to the UK, British brands and the Royal Family.

Key findings included:

The Duchess of Cambridge’s (Kate Middleton) is the 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%)

Driven by TV shows such as The Crown and Downton Abbey, as well as coverage of the 2018 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 two to three years ago.

Americans aged between 25 and 45 – the same generation as the young Royals – are the most positive about the UK and the Royal Family.

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

Please click here to download the full report.

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.”

“Recent examples of this effect include Meghan Markle wearing Finlay and Co. sunglasses, which the Financial Times reported created a US revenue increase of 2,700%. 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. The Independent has reported that searches for the Strathberry Bag she 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. The research shows that 39% of American women say they would be more likely to buy a car if it were used by the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex. 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 one of the largest and most important luxury markets 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).


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