NEW STUDY SHOWS THE AFFLUENT PREFER "EXPERIENCES" OVER MATERIAL POSSESIONS

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A new study of wealthy consumers shows that, fopr the majority of respondents, experiences provide them with the most satisfaction. The study, performed by luxury marketing firm Unity Marketing and sponsored by American Express, included "upscale restaurants, travel, entertainment and cultural/art events, sports events, personal health and beauty services, and home services in the 'luxury experiences' category.

Unity Marketing defines 'affluents' as the 10.1 million U.S. households with incomes from $100,000 to $149,999, and 'super affluents' as the 5.6 million households whose incomes exceed $150,000. The affluent, according to Unity, tend to be members of the Baby-Boom generation. In 2002, average income was highest among households aged 45 to 54, at $74,934.

Here's some good news for spas. Survey respondents who said they value experiences most assert that 'enhancing quality of life' is an extremely important motivation for pursuing 'experiential luxuries.' Also important will be spa products for home care. One in five luxury consumers, favors home luxury goods as the source of their greatest satisfaction, and the group spends an average of $12,300 annually on home luxuries.