Jewelry will be high on the list of many affluent purchasers this holiday season, according to the 2013 Holiday Forecast Study from the Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America.
In the study released by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, 25 percent of the affluent and wealthy consumers surveyed said jewelry was a category of gift they expected to give this year. The No. 1 one category, fashion apparel, was cited by 49 percent.
The study predicts overall consumer spending at the holidays across all income groups will rise 7.7 percent over 2012 figures, a larger number than other forecasts have offered.
Study director Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group, said in a statement that much of the buying is expected be led by lower- and middle-income consumers. However, he said those in the top 10 percent (households that have annual discretionary income of $100,000 or more) will remain “conservative.”
However, Taylor added, “We are kicking off the season with a government shutdown and another grueling debate over the debt ceiling coming up in October—so the message is one of caution. Our advice is to take this holiday season one day and one customer at a time.”
The National Retail Federation also has released its holiday forecast, but its estimate was a little lower, predicting that sales will rise 3.9 percent over 2012. Still, that’s higher than last year’s 3.5 percent increase, and above the 10-year sales average of 3.3. percent.
“Overall, retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement, “hoping political debates over government spending and the debt ceiling do not erase any economic progress we’ve already made.”
The NRF’s Internet-focused division, shop.org, predicted that e-commerce sales will rise by 13 to 15 percent this holiday season.