Wealth archetypes

Speaking at the Luxury Briefing Wealth Summit event in London last year, Ledbury Research director James Lawson quipped that luxury brand strategies used to involve a “bun fight over the Sunday Times Rich List”, but today it is more complex than that.

Different global wealth segments come with different psyches that brands must consider.

Ledbury Research has pinpointed the following wealth archetypes across Asia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia to aid brands’ understanding of these consumers:


Ambitious successors

30s, single or married with children. Wealth has come from parents’ businesses in manufacturing or hospitality which they are to take over soon. Most have been educated overseas. Individualistic and purchase what they like instead of following trends.

Guanxi connectors

Entrepeneurs in natural resources or manufacturing. Their “guanxi” connections are mainly government-related which allow them to tap into unique opportunities. Mostly socialise with their guanxi government connections. They buy brands commonly seen in magazines and will pay a premium for foreign brands but like to be discreet so as not to seen to flaunt their wealth in front of their connections.

Maverick entrepeneurs

Married with children. Self-made wealth, in mining or manufacturing. Come from ordinary backgrounds and not highly educated. Ostentatious and drawn to most well-known and expensive brands. Big appetite for cars.

Modern matriarchs

Married with children. Have their own businesses or involved in husband’s business. Well educated, driving force behind China’s most successful families. Buy items that match their personalities.


Empire heirs

Late 30s to 50s, married with children. Second generation inheritance of family business, plus investments. Involved in real estate, construction, textiles, shipping and export. Well educated, driven by pressure to continue the success of the family business. Low key about brands. Men enjoy quality shoes, cars and rare French wine.

Market traders

Late 20s to early 40s, single. Work in banking with high salary and bonus, as well as property investments. Alpha personalities, technologically advanced. Conspicuous about brands to show off income.


Confident professionals

40s to early 50s, married with children. Wealth comes from salary and investments. Work in medicine, dentistry, education, law, engineering or business. Scaling back on work commitments and looking forward to retiring. Discreet about brands and favour quality over quantity.

Financial high flyers

Single, late 20s to mid 40s. High salary and bonus, plus investments. Highly educated, socialise largely with business contacts. Very brand conscious and discerning over cars and fashion.

New business builders

40s to early 50s, married with children. Business owners in manufacturing, IT, exports and imports, transport and tourism, or food and beverage. Educated to secondary level, business takes precedence over other matters. Not overly concerned with brands but will pay for quality.


Founding fathers

Over 45. The first to have become wealthy in the region. Humble in business dealings, respectful, and cautious of the West. They will usually have a Sheikh as their business advisor. Very conservative and discreet spenders.

Enterprising sons

The heirs to the Founding Fathers, they tend to be more Western educated. They have varying business motivations but are motivated to succeed. Sociable and impulsive. They are more showy about brands, for example, they like to show off with fast cars.


Friends of the state

Linked to the former Communist Party, heavily involved in natural resources. Very confident, dictatorial management style. Buy brands for status.

Smart operators

More liberal and slightly younger than ‘Friends of the state’. Work in relatively new industries such as media and biotechnology.

Next generation

Capital heirs who have been well educated at US, UK or Swiss schools. Set to receive an inheritance. Nervous about taking their parents’ business forward.

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