Unity Marketing’s Luxury Tracking Study results for the fourth quarter 2009 show a marked improvement in consumer sentiment among affluent consumers, defined as those at the top 20 percent of household income. The survey tracking luxury consumption was conducted from January 8-14, 2010 among 1,614 affluent consumers (avg. income $239.3K, 45.9 years, 41 percent male/59 percent female).
In the beginning of 2010 the Luxury Consumption Index, which measures consumer confidence in the ranks of the affluent, stands at about the same level it was in September 2007, just as the recession began to drag the index down. Throughout 2009 the LCI has steadily gained points. Overall the index has recovered about 80 percent of the points it lost since it bottomed out in September 2008.
The study also reveals that the share of affluents who feel their financial situation is better now than three months ago rose 5 percentage points from the third quarter. Because of this, they feel financially more stable and were empowered to spend more money on luxury in the fourth quarter.
Affluents spent about 50 percent more on luxury clothing and apparel, fashion accessories, travel and spa, beauty and massage services in the fourth quarter as compared to third quarter. These are categories that have dragged in terms of spending throughout the year. Overall affluents spent 7.9 percent more on luxury from third to fourth quarter, following a 29.4 percent increase from second to third quarter.