Aug 25, 2006
Luxury Consumer Confidence DownSource: Unity Marketing

Luxury consumers’ confidence plummeted during the second quarter of 2006, dropping 14 points down to 99.2 from a high of 113.2 at the close of the first quarter. This follows two consecutive quarters of rising luxury consumer confidence. The index is based on a survey of more than 1,000 luxury consumers (average income $147,900) conducted in July 2006.

“All values used to calculate the Luxury Consumption Index dropped sharply in Unity’s most recent Luxury Tracking survey,” explained Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. “How they feel about their personal financial health dropped. How they feel about their prospects over the next 12 months dropped. Their expectations about future spending on luxury dropped. But most significantly, luxury consumers’ feelings about the financial health of the country declined the most. At the close of the second quarter, nearly half (47 percent) of luxury consumers believed the country was worse off compared to three months ago. Only 16 percent felt it had improved,” Danziger said.

Commenting on the decline in the consumption index, Thomas Bodenberg, Unity Marketing’s economic forecaster said, “A number of factors contributed to luxury consumer worries. On the home front, gasoline prices have remained high, which threatens more price inflation. They also faced a decline in the housing market, electoral uncertainty as the election season starts to heat up and a reduction in the rate of economic growth. Luxury consumers are worried about the long term impact of continued unrest in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Despite the steep decline in luxury consumer confidence, consumers maintained the same level of overall spending as in the first quarter. Luxury consumers spent $221.8 billion on luxuries in the second quarter, up a scant .7 percent from total spending of $220.2 billion in the first quarter.

With the exception of experiential luxuries, the luxury market declined in all categories in the second quarter. The market for home luxuries was down 5.7 percent to $48.3 billion. The personal luxury market, including fashion, jewelry, watches, pens and writing instruments, and wine and spirits, declined 8.7 percent in the quarter to $29.9 billion, and the market for luxury automobiles was down .9 percent to $60.8 billion. By contrast, the market for experiential luxuries grew in the second quarter 10.7 percent to reach $82.8 billion, with the market for luxury travel, dining, entertainment, home services and spa/beauty services increasing during the quarter.

These findings are based upon Unity Marketing’s quarterly luxury tracking study, which surveyed 1,012 luxury consumers (average income $147,900 and age 43.4 years). Information about their purchases, spending, store and brand preferences were collected on four major categories of luxury goods and services, including home luxuries; personal luxuries (clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry, watches, cosmetics, wine and spirits, pet luxuries and pens); automobiles; and experiences (dining, travel, home services, spas/beauty services and entertainment).

Unity Marketing publishes its Luxury Tracking Study quarterly; the next is due in September/October 2006. For more information, visit http://www.unitymarketingonline.com/reports2/luxury/luxury3.html






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