Survey: Rich Will Spend Less This Holiday

In its twice-yearly survey of well-heeled Americans, the American Affluence Research Center says spending plans have fallen substantially for this group, reaching the lowest level since spring 2002.

Fewer of the affluents in the survey--which the marketing research company defines as households with an average household income of $324,000 and an average net worth of $3.3 million--are planning to buy motor vehicles, take cruises or build new vacation homes in the next 12 months.

For the holidays, 17% of the poll respondents expect to spend less this year than the average $3,042 they spent in 2005; only 8% expected to spend more. They are also giving less to their spouses: While the average gift for a spouse cost $1,078 in 2005 (with men spending more than double what women spend), this year, projected spending for a spouse in 2006 is down 0.5 percent. The marketing research firm estimates that affluent households account for about 15% of all holiday spending.

On the plus side: Compared to its spring study six months ago, more affluent families are expecting to do major home remodeling, buy an existing vacation home, and buy a new primary residence.



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