Luxury Market Research---Popular Views of Conspicuous Consumptions Debunked in Survey of Luxury Cons

Jun 15 08:02 2009 Margaret Winfrey Print This Article

The profile of the 552 affluent men and women in the national survey sample is: $304,000 average household income. Men were asked to provide a price (median value shown in parenthesis) and a brand for a business suit ($500), shoes ($200)  to go with the business suit, dress shirt ($75) to go with the business suit.


For several years,Guest Posting luxury retail and marketing consultants have fed the media with anecdotal research about the luxury market as though the purchases of $700 Manolo Blahnik shoes, $1,000 Prada hand bags, and $250 True Religion jeans are common place among luxury consumers.

But the affluent women in a survey of the wealthiest 10% of US households by The American Affluence Research Center (AARC) report they are more likely to spend less than $120 for nice shoes, less than $100 for a purse for every day, and less than $75 for a pair of women’s jeans.

“Luxury is a very ambiguous word that is used very loosely”, according to Ron Kurtz, President of AARC, who observed that “the definition of luxury varies considerably by individual and by product, as clearly demonstrated by our survey. In this survey, the affluent defined luxury by price point and brand for 37 products and services".

Affluent Report the Most They Could Imagine Spending for 37 Products

In AARC’s ground breaking research on the definition of luxury among the wealthy, the survey respondents were asked to specify the most they could imagine spending for 37 different products and services. They were also asked to name the brand they would most likely purchase for each of the items.

The profile of the 552 affluent men and women in the national survey sample is: $304,000 average household income, $3.1 million average household net worth, and $1.2 million average value of their primary home. The average age is 55 while 86% are married and 60% are males.

Both men and women  were asked to provide a price (the median value of the price reported by men/women is shown in parenthesis)  and a brand for a new auto ($40,000/$35,000) for personal use, a room in the winter in a Caribbean resort ($300/$250 per night), a European cruise ($300/$300 per person per night), a hotel room in New York City ($300/$300 per night) for a vacation, a refrigerator ($1,500/$1,500), an original painting $3,000/$3,000), a washer/dryer set ($1,500/$1,500), a king size mattress ($1,000/$1,500), a set of linens for a king size bed ($200/$150), wall to wall carpet ($20/$20 per square foot), a watch for dressy occasions ($1,000/$500), a watch for every day ($130/$150), a bottle of wine ($40/$30) for a special dinner at home, frames for sun glasses ($125/$150), and a large 24” wheeled garment bag ($200/$150).

Women were asked to provide a price (median value shown in parenthesis) and a brand for a dressy suit ($250), shoes ($120) to go with the dressy suit, a cocktail dress ($200), shoes ($100) to go with the cocktail dress, a pair of jeans ($75), a pair of diamond stud earrings ($1,000), a purse ($100) for every day, skin rejuvenation cream ($50 for 1.7 ounces), liquid make-up/foundation ($25 for one ounce), a bottle of perfume ($60 for 1.7 ounces), and lipstick or gloss ($15).

Men were asked to provide a price (median value shown in parenthesis) and a brand for a business suit ($500), shoes ($200)  to go with the business suit, dress shirt ($75) to go with the business suit, a tie ($50) to go with the suit, a tuxedo ($500), shoes ($125) to go with the tuxedo, shirt ($75) to go with the tuxedo, a sport coat ($250), slacks ($100) to go with the sport coat, a dressy long sleeve sport shirt ($75), and dressy short sleeve sport shirt ($50).

For a more detailed summary of the findings of this research and its implications, visit our blog post at AffluenceResearch.org entitled "Popular View of Luxury Spending Debunked in Survey of the Wealthy."


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Margaret Winfrey
Margaret Winfrey

The American Affluence Research Center, led by AARC President Ron Kurtz, provides marketing research and mailing lists of affluent consumers to prominent companies targeting the affluent market, commonly referred to as The Luxury Market. AARC is an independent, private research organization dedicated to providing reliable marketing information about the values, lifestyles, attitudes,investments, and purchasing behavior of the most affluent segments of the U.S. population through both custom and multi-client surveys.


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