The Ultimate Luxury


Exploring Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals’ Motivations and Experiences, Special issue of European Journal of Marketing; Deadline 30 Nov 2020

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: James Whitely

The Ultimate Luxury: Exploring Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) Individuals’ Motivations and Experiences

Call for papers for: European Journal of Marketing

The Ultimate Luxury: Exploring Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) Individuals’ Motivations and Experiences

Special Issue in the European Journal of Marketing, edited by

Phil Klaus (International University of Monaco, Monaco) and JungKun Park (Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea)

The market for luxury has been growing consistently. In 2018, the luxury segment represented an estimated $1.2 trillion. Academic research reflects the sector growth as rooted in its solid foundation of luxury goods and brands knowledge. Scholars and managers alike emphasize the ever-increasing importance of the luxury experience for understanding and catering to the luxury customer. However, understanding and exploring what constitutes the luxury experience is a challenge. This is in particularly true of ultra-high net-worth individuals (UHNW). While only comprising 220,000 individuals, the ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) segment has a collective net worth of more than $30 trillion. By robustly stimulating the demand for luxury and, therefore, its growth, the UHNW segment has become increasingly important for the luxury industry (Klaus, 2019). Some luxury sectors, such as the market for superyachts – one superyacht sells for an average of $10 million – are exclusively focused on UHNW.

Despite their collective wealth, UHNWs are a small market in absolute terms – even for niche luxury brands that are created for the most discerning consumers. Though many of these elite organizations covet the patronage of this consumer group for the prestige and spending power they bring, they can be a difficult group to understand and target with effective UHNW luxury marketing initiatives.

Despite its crucial importance for the luxury sector (Deloitte, 2019), research exploring the ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) population’s experiences is non-existent. An ultra-high net-worth individual (UHNW), defined as those with a minimum net worth of $30 million, is a member of an elite club, representing 0.003% of the global population (Camper & Nicholsons, Wealth X, 2016).

According to Deloitte (2019), the global luxury market comprises nine segments: personal luxury goods, luxury hospitality, luxury cruises, luxury cars, designer furniture, fine wines and spirits, fine food, private jets and yachts, and fine art, with the latter three targeted almost exclusively at the UHNW segment.

Researchers agree that hedonic motivations and associated experiences are prevalent in luxury settings, more than in any others (Husic & Cicic, 2009), which has implications for luxury brand and customer experience management (Klaus, 2018; Steenkamp, 2014). Luxury research focuses primarily on four pillars: exclusivity (e.g., Fionda & Moore, 2009), hedonics (e.g., Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2009), product quality (e.g., Vigneron & Johnson, 2004), and price (e.g., Parguel et al., 2016). Although becoming more important for luxury managers (Berghaus et al., 2014) and scholars (Holmqvist et al., 2019), luxury customer experience (CX) research is still underdeveloped. Most luxury CX research is either conceptual by nature (e.g., Ko et al., 2016), explores only the antecedents and the consequences of the experience, as well as related concepts (e.g., Shukla et al., 2016), or focuses on the experience’s experiential aspects rather than on a holistic conceptualization of CX (Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). Most of the insights and advice consultants and managers are offering on how to manage the UHNW CX are, however, anecdotal in nature. In general, they are lacking both, rigor and the scientific knowledge to explore what constitutes and what drives the UHNW CX.


The special issue will make a clear and significant contribution to the customer experience (CX) luxury, and consumer behavior literature streams. CX is considered a highly significant, but still conceptually developing research construct (e.g., Lemon and Verhoef 2016). While CX is often proposed as a context-specific construct, very little research has been conducted to test this proposition (e.g., Imhof and Klaus 2019). Researchers agree upon that CX is driven by consumers’ emotions and emotional stages. This is in particularly true in the luxury segment (Rosenbaum et al., 2019), yet scholars submit that not all luxury contexts and segments are the same (Klaus, 2018), and both, the CX and the customers’ emotional stages are dynamic in nature and can change over time (De Keyser et al. 2015). As of today, there is to the best of our knowledge, no empirical research done to explore these dynamics, the UHNW CX, and UHNW motivations and benefits they are seeking. Our special issue will address and fill this important research gaps.

List of sample topics

Topics included, but not limited to, are:

  • What constitutes the UHNW CX?
  • Do the traditional luxury branding rules apply to the UHNW segment?
  • Is the UHNW segment heterogenous in nature? If yes, what is the cause of the heterogeneity (demographics, old versus new money, etc.)?
  • Does, and if yes, how and why luxury marketing needs to be adjusted to the UHNW segment? For example, local versus global marketing.
  • The role of emotions in the UHNW CX.
  • The dynamic nature of the UHNW CX.
  • Exploration of the different UNHWs’ different motivations to engage in luxury consumption.
  • New trends in UHNW behavior (such as use versus possession).
  • The impact of Social Media on the UNHW CX.
  • UNHWI – from consumer to influencer, how can brands use the affiliation with UNHWs to their benefit.
  • A meta-analysis of UHNW research (these papers tend to be highly cited!)

Submission information

Deadline for submissions November 30th, 2020.

Submissions should be made online at

Please select this special issue from the drop down menu provided during submission.

Please review the author guidelines at

before submitting.

Please contact the guest editors at email addresses provided below for any questions.

Brief Biographies:

Phil Klaus, International University of Monaco, 2 Avenue Albert II, 98000 Monaco, (

Prof. Dr. Philipp “Phil” Klaus is Professor of Customer Experience and Marketing Strategy at International University of Monaco and widely considered one of the worldwide leading Customer Experience and Marketing Strategy experts. He is a frequent keynote speaker and advises an active, international portfolio of Blue-Chip clients on customer experience strategy, profit enhancement, and ‘next practice’. His award-winning research is published in top-tier marketing and managerial journals and numerous books. Phil has extensive editorial experience as former Research Review Editor of the Journal of Service Management, Editor of Special Issues for the Journal of Service Management, the Journal of Services Marketing, and the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. He serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Services Marketing and is an Editorial Board Member on multiple other journals, such as the International Journal of Market Research. He frequently reviews for various journals, such as the Journal of the Academy of Marketing ScienceCalifornia Management ReviewJournal of Service Research, and the Journal of Business Research.

JungKun Park, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 04763, Korea, (

Prof. Park is Professor and Director of Institute of Luxury Brand Management at Hanyang University. He received his master’s degree in Economics in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Doctoral Degree in Retailing and Consumer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He taught at Purdue University and University of Houston for 15 years on Consumer Behavior and Research Methodology. His research appeared in many top-tier academic journals. Dr. Park’s major research area is luxury brand management, technology and consumers in retailing covering electronic, mobile and ubiquitous commerce consumer behavior. He served editorial board member, associate editor and guest editor for special issue on luxury such as Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

The authoritative version of this call can be found here:


De Keyser, A., Lemon, K. N., Klaus, P., & Keiningham, T. L. (2015). A framework for understanding and managing the customer experience. Marketing Science Institute working paper series15(121), 1-48.

Deloitte (2019). Boating market monitor: Yachting market monitor in the luxury world.

Fionda, A. M., & Moore, C. M. (2009). The anatomy of the luxury fashion brand. Journal of Brand Management16(5-6), 347-363.

Hagtvedt, H., & Patrick, V. M. (2009). The broad embrace of luxury: Hedonic potential as a driver of brand extendibility. Journal of Consumer Psychology19(4), 608-618.

Holmqvist, J., Ruiz, C. D., & Peñaloza, L. (2019). Moments of luxury: Hedonic escapism as a luxury experience. Journal of Business Research, 67(8).

Husic, M., & Cicic, M. (2009). Luxury consumption factors. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal13(2), 231-245.

Imhof, G., & Klaus, P. (2019). The dawn of traditional CX metrics? Examining satisfaction, EXQ, and WAR. International Journal of Market Research, 1470785319848955.

Klaus, P. (2018). Luxury patient experience (LPX): review, conceptualization, and future research directions. The Service Industries Journal38(1-2), 87-98.

Ko, E., Phau, I., & Aiello, G. (2016). Luxury brand strategies and customer experiences: Contributions to theory and practice. Journal of Business Research69(12), 5749-5752.

Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. Journal of Marketing80(6), 69-96.

Parguel, B., Delécolle, T., & Valette-Florence, P. (2016). How price display influences consumer luxury perceptions. Journal of Business Research69(1), 341-348.

Rosenbaum, M. S., Ramirez, G. C., Campbell, J., & Klaus, P. (2019). The product is me: Hyper-personalized consumer goods as unconventional luxury. Journal of Business Research

Shukla, P., Banerjee, M., & Singh, J. (2016). Customer commitment to luxury brands: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Business Research69(1), 323-331.

Steenkamp, J. B. (2014). How global brands create firm value: the 4V model. International Marketing Review31(1), 5-29.

Vigneron, F., & Johnson, L. W. (2004). Measuring perceptions of brand luxury. Journal of Brand Management11(6), 484-506.