Reading the outlook reports for Holiday 2012 can really make your head spin. It's hard for luxury retailers to know if they should be decking the halls or hiding behind the tree. One report declares that affluents will be buying meaningful gifts for loved ones - and even better gifts for themselves. Another predicts a sea of consumable gifts and gift cards. A third predicts that, due to an Obama victory, the wealthy will be keeping it lean this year, since they believe the President will be hungrily eyeing their wallets.
Last month, we began exploring the roles of money and financial services in the lives of Affluent Americans. This month, we dig deeper on Affluents (defined here as $100K+ annual household income) and their money. But first, a quick review of the key findings from last month's initial look at Affluents and financial services...
Savvy affluent consumers have always had discerning taste. The trends we see in virtually all luxury segments indicate that consumers are being more focused and conscientious about their luxury purchases. No doubt unsettling times play a major role, and I believe a larger macro force is at play: limitless choices are causing consumers to think more diligently about where they focus their luxury dollars and the personalized choices they make.
While most Americans will be celebrating modestly this holiday season, affluent customers, specifically the top 10% of earners, are expected to spend over 20% more than last year. According to a recent study by Harrison Group and American Express, 39% of the top 1% are planning to spend big on gifts this year, although perhaps not in the way you'd expect.