Luxury consumers’ confidence in their financial well-being rose from 98.7 points in March to 102.7 points in the second quarter of 2004, according to The Luxury Consumption Index and second quarter Luxury Tracking study by Unity Marketing, Stevens, PA. As a result, Unity said the typical luxury household, with an average income of $143,000, spent 72% more on luxuries during the quarter. Thirty-six percent of luxury consumers said they were better off now than they were in the first quarter and 29% said the country as a whole is now better off. One of the fastest-growing categories, personal luxury, grew 50% with purchases of fashion, accessories, cosmetics and automobiles. Another top category was experiential luxury, which includes spas.
However, 63% of average consumers have been more cautious about their spending since 2002, according to a Pulse survey by WSL Strategic Retail, New York, NY. Though 25% of consumers have seen an improvement in their financial situation, only 39% have hope for improvement in family finances. Also 39% are driving less due to higher gas prices, up 22% from six months ago. WSL researchers said due to these constraints, shoppers are less impulsive, forcing retailers to develop more enticing displays and easier shopping experiences. More info: (717) 336-1600; Websites: www.unitymarketingonline.com and www.wslstrategicretail.com.