Luxury Consumer Confidence Bounces Back as Affluent Consumers Spend More on Luxury Indulgences

Luxury consumption index up 2 points as affluent consumers feel more confident about their financial status, but spending is not yet as strong as one year ago

Stevens, PA April 27, 2007 — Luxury consumers' confidence rebounded in the first quarter of 2007, rising two points to reach 100.2, up from its lowest level in 2006 at the close of the fourth quarter. This is good news for companies that market and sell luxuries, as well as for those who invest in these companies.

Renewed confidence in the first quarter encouraged affluent consumers to spend more buying luxury goods and services. Luxury consumers spent on average $14,024 on luxury goods and services, an increase of 8 percent over the average amount spent in the fourth quarter 2006. Increased spending on home luxuries, especially kitchen appliances and cookware, accounted for much of this quarter's increase.

These findings are based upon Unity Marketing's Luxury Tracking survey of 1,003 affluent consumers conducted at the close of the first quarter 2007 (average income $159,000 and average age 46.4 years).

Commenting on the first quarter results, Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Shopping Experience says, 'I advise my luxury clients to remain cautiously optimistic about the positive trend in the index and spending. The fact is luxury consumer confidence at the end of first quarter 2007 lags far behind where it was at the end of the first quarter last year, when it reached its historic high of 113.2 points.

'Corresponding with luxury consumers' optimism last year, luxury consumers spent on average $14,800 in 1Q2006, which was 5.5 percent more than this year. By contrast, I would have expected luxury consumer spending to rise even higher this year, since the average income of our survey respondents was 9 percent greater in 1Q2007. So while there is a positive trend in affluent consumers' confidence and spending, we still have a long way to go to get back to where we were in early 2006,' Danziger explains.

Commenting on the Luxury Consumption Index, Thomas Bodenberg, Unity Marketing's economic forecaster, said, 'Luxury consumers, who are the movers and shakers in our society, continue to be pessimistic about the financial direction of the country. Some 42 percent of affluent consumers feel the country is worse off now compared with three months ago. Only 13 percent feel the country is in a better position. At the same time, nearly 60 percent of luxury consumers feel their financial status will improve in the next twelve months, which gave a boost to this quarter's Luxury Consumption Index.'