Only Richest Consumers Spending More This Holiday

Only the most affluent customers plan to spend more this holiday, according to a new survey—a sign jewelers should concentrate on high-end items this season.

The Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America, released annually by Harrison Group and American Express Publishing, found that those at the very top of the income spectrum, with discretionary incomes of $250,000 or more, plan to spend an average of 7 percent more on holiday gifts.

However, those with discretionary incomes in the $100,000 to $250,000 range said their holiday spending budgets will be 17 percent lower than in 2010.

As for non-affluent consumers, with incomes below $100,000, some 28 percent said they expect to spend less on gifts than they did in 2010.

Overall, some 57 percent of affluent consumers say they are looking to buy fewer gifts this holiday season, with the number one reason being “they have too much stuff.” In 2010, the no. 1 response to this question was they were “worried about the economy.”

The survey also found that 36 percent of wives would like jewelry as a holiday gift, while only 27 percent of husbands plan on giving gifts in this category.

JCK interviewed the main researchers behind the Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America in its October 2011 issue.

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