Survey: Luxury Spending to Increase Slightly in 2012

Spending by affluent and wealthy Americans will increase slightly within the next year, according to the 2012 Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America.

The study, produced by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, examines Americans who have a minimum discretionary income of $100,000.

According to the survey, within the next 12 months the average wealthy family is expected to spend more than $20,000 on 13 luxury categories, which included fashion, travel, home entertainment, and home decorating purchases.

“It is estimated that the total discretionary luxury consumption market for 2012 will be approximately $375 billion and nearly two-thirds of all luxury spending will be consumed by the top 12 million families,” Dr. Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group, said in a statement.

Although affluent spending generally remains consistent with 2011, in 2012 more families have risen to the affluent category, increasing luxury spending by 3 percent.

Fine jewelry and watch sales are expected to remain steady throughout the next year, with any gains or losses expected to be slight. However, compared with previous years, more Americans are concerned about the quality of their goods rather than the cost. Thirty-three percent fewer wealthy consumers say they are downgrading their luxury purchases to cheaper items in comparison with 2010. 

According to the study, 63 percent of “worth-oriented shoppers,” categorized by those who value quality over economic deals, believe it is worth paying more for the best quality of jewelry.

The survey also examines spending of the millennial generation, stating that 34 percent of millennials (individuals between the ages of 18 and 33) have been raised wealthy. According to the study, the majority of wealthy millennials favor brands that are pro-social, possess a history and heritage, and make them feel that they own something rare.

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