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Rich Shoppers Feel Richer

January 24, 2013

The recent uptick in consumer confidence is certainly evident among wealthier Americans. Unity Marketing’s latest survey of affluent consumer confidence found a strong upturn in their feelings about their financial status and prospects for the future. As a result, luxury consumers picked up their pace of shopping in the third quarter, with luxury increasing 25.8% compared to the previous quarter.

Given the rise in affluent consumer confidence, the fourth quarter was expected to be strong for marketers and retailers that attract these shoppers. Unity Marketing has a list of the top brands in 15 product and service categories available on request. The latest survey finds renewed confidence among affluents, resulting in strong spending during the third quarter and expectations that such will continue during the fourth.

“The first half of 2012 showed affluent consumers restrained in spending on luxury goods and services, but spending rebounded strongly in the third quarter survey with signs pointing to rising demand during the critical fourth quarter,” Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of “Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How new consumer values are redefining the way we market luxury.” The results are according to Unity Marketing’s Luxury Tracking Survey conducted Oct. 9-15, 2012 among 1,289 affluent consumers (average income $290,600; average age 44 years.)

“Over half (52%) of affluent consumers surveyed feel they are financially better off today than 12 months ago; this measure hasn’t been this high since Q1 2011. Rising even more sharply is the percentage of luxury consumers who feel the country as a whole is doing better now as compared with three months ago. Some 37% of affluent surveyed feel the country is now moving in the right direction, up 15 percentage points from last quarter.”

Rising affluent consumer confidence is sparking a pick up in spending on luxuries, with these categories posting the strongest quarter-over-quarter increase during the third quarter:
  • Luxury clothing and apparel, with spending up 95.2% over second quarter;
  • Luxury kitchenware and cooks’ tools, up 83.1%;
  • Luxury beauty, cosmetics, fragrances, up 75.4%;
  • Luxury dining, up 67.7%; and
  • Luxury fashion accessories, up 52.2%.
“Throughout 2011 and 2012, we have seen luxury consumer spending mostly on a downward trajectory, with their feelings of consumer confidence as measured by the Luxury Consumption Index (LCI) wavering over the same period. But in the latest survey, the LCI posted its greatest historic leap, rising 24.3 points, the biggest shift seen since tracking began in 2004. Historically, the LCI has been a forward-looking indicator strongly predictive of future affluent consumer spending trends. Today the signs are aligning for a strong fourth quarter at retail among affluents,” Danziger predicts.

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