Signs of Recovery in Luxury Market

The most recent survey of affluent consumers from Unity Marketing reveals hope for economic recovery, just not too soon. Data shows that luxury consumers are changing their patterns of consumption, and these changes, including cutting spending on luxuries in the next twelve months, may outlast any economic downturn.

Unity Marketing’s Luxury Consumption Index showed a slight improvement of 1.5 points in the latest survey of 1,034 affluents (average income $207,000). The survey was conducted April 3-8, 2009 and included questions about financial situations and luxury lifestyle, as well as luxury purchases and spending in the past three months. 

Acccording to findings, affluents are beginning to feel somewhat better about personal financial situation compared to three months ago. Likewise, they feel the country as a whole is moving in a more positive direction than they did three months ago.

Affluents are also beginning to feel more optimistic about their future financial situation in the coming twelve months.  This long term perspective is especially important since one-fourth of the affluents said their personal financial situation had declined significantly, while 39 percent said their financial situation had declined somewhat in the current economic recession.

“But despite these positive indications, over 40 percent of all the affluents surveyed said they plan to cut their spending on luxuries in the next twelve months,” says Pam Danziger, president.  “So we are seeing a long, slow crawl to higher levels of affluent consumer confidence. At the same time, there continues to be trouble ahead for luxury marketers, as the affluents are holding back on their expectations about spending more on luxuries for the remainder of the year.”

Pam Danziger, president, Unity Marketing

Tom Bodenberg, Unity Marketing’s chief economist adds that there could be “an uptick in luxury consumer spending once the recession has played its course, as some affluents will relieve pent-up demand for luxury goods as a vehicle of lifestyle aspiration and expression.”  However, “the media’s focus on ‘recession chic’ – personal expression that deliberately excludes luxury goods – may leave a lingering distaste for conspicuous consumption and parading luxury labels,”says Bodenberg.

To learn more about the latest luxury consumer survey and the LCI, call Pam Danziger at (717) 336-1600 or visit the firm online at

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