Signs Pointing To A Happy Holiday Season

’Tis shaping up to be a good holiday season for Affluent-focused brands. At least that’s the suggestion from our October 2013 Affluent Barometer, which finds Affluent interest in holiday travel and holiday spending significantly ahead of last year. 

Even though the survey was conducted during the October government shutdown, it nevertheless found that anticipated holiday spending among Affluents is tracking 10-20% ahead of last year, and Affluent travel interest is up for each major holiday… 

  • 44% are planning to travel for Thanksgiving, up from 40% in 2012
  • 44% are also planning to travel for Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa, up sharply from 35% last year
  • 30% plan to travel for New Year’s, also up sharply from 21% last year



Of course, intentions don’t always predict actions, and a run of bad economic news could certainly dampen spending. But there’s no denying the underlying enthusiasm that Affluents are bringing to this year’s holiday season. (In fact, their holiday spirit has already started – in the days leading up to Halloween, three-fourths were planning to celebrate in some way, including 61% planning to hand out candy, and 18% planning to dress up on Halloween night). Affluent enthusiasm for this holiday season is also apparent in several additional findings… 

  • Affluents plan to spend across channels. Retail and computer-based shopping each account for about 45% of expected holiday purchases; tablets and smartphones combine to account for the remaining 10% (among Ultra Affluents, computer-based spending accounts for 58% of expected holiday purchases).
  • Affluent interest is strong across categories. Interest is strong in “high-buzz” electronic categories, with 8% of Affluents planning to purchase a tablet this holiday season, and 7% planning to purchase a smartphone. But strong interest extends across categories, with similar numbers planning to purchase high-end fragrances, accessories and jewelry.
  • Affluents plan to shop for themselves as well. While holiday shopping, 62% of Affluents buy presents for themselves, with 22% doing so during most or all of their holiday shopping trips. 

While Affluent spending intentions and overall holiday enthusiasm are up, retail profits may be harder to come by. Affluents remain value-oriented, and their tendency to do pre-shopping research and “show-rooming” are rising from already high levels. For example, while holiday shopping, 74% have ever searched online for lower prices on merchandise they have seen in a retail store, and 42% do so regularly. Still, taken as a whole, the signs point to a happy holiday season, for Affluents and the brands who seek to connect with them.

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