Report: AMEX leads Australia's Premium Brands list

New Roy Morgan brand rankings based on Australia's most influential top consumer spenders

American Express has topped the latest list of Australia's most premium brands for the first time as well as led the financial services category for the third year running. 

The latest Roy Morgan rankings are based on the consumption behaviour of Australia's higher-end consumers, or what it dubs the 'super NEOs (new economic order)'. The 2022 rankings are based on 2.4 million of these consumers, the top 50 per cent of the category. NEOs make up 27 per cent of Australia's population.

Across other industry sectors, Peter Alexander and The Iconic led the retail premium brands list while Harris Farm Markets topped the retailers. In the auto sector, Audi and BMW took top honours, while in smartphones, Google Pixel and Apple iPhone sat in first and second position, respectivey. Powershop was recognised as the leading premium energy brand, Vintage Cellars for liquor and Mad Mex for QSRs.

American Express VP brand and member experience, Naysla Edwards, attributed the accolade to strong alignment between its values and NEOs along with its

experience credentials.

“At American Express, we place huge emphasis on ensuring we offer our card members with an elevated lifestyle experience. Whether that’s through curated experiences across dining, entertainment, travel, retail, and wellness - that support and enhance how they live, exceptional customer service or providing products designed specifically for the end-user in mind,” she said.

“Backing colleagues, communities and card members is at the heart of everything we do, and doing so authentically, everyone that comes in to contact with our brand receives a premium experience.”

According to social scientist and premiumisation specialist, Dr Ross Honeywill, premium NEOs spend three times more on products and experiences that are authentic, of exceptional and lasting quality, emotionally engaging, ethical and sustainable, innovative, and that offer more personalised service.

“For NEOs, price is just the cost of falling in love,” he added.

For Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine, the premiumisation of Australian business is vital to the economy.

“I wanted to see who was doing it well for the Australians with a premium mindset, we know them as the New Economic Order or NEOs," she explained.

“So, we analysed the preferences of the top 50 per cent of NEOs and the standout premium brand winner was American Express."

Roy Morgan said NEOs sit apart from wealthy Australians with more traditional values due to their unique mindset, along with volume and frequency of their spending, borrowing and investing.

For example, NEOs are 2.5 times more likely than average Australians to earn at least $300,000 per year, and are more likely to rank in the top third of discretionary spenders. 

Roy Morgan said as the consumer economy starts to recover and create the next normal, the architects of recovery will not be economists or politicians, but premium consumers. 

"It will be a two-speed recovery and the fast lane will be driven by a premium band of recession-busting consumers known as the New Economic Order," the firm stated on its website. "Consumers are, after all, the ultimate shareholders of the consumer economy, so ignore these future-shapers at your peril."

The Roy Morgan Premium Brands list only includes major brands appearing in the research firm's Single Source database. 

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