Luxury Survey Points to Upbeat 2004

January 20, 2004

Luxury Survey Points to Upbeat 2004

Consumers of luxury goods feel more positive about their financial status, as demonstrated by their spending 46% more, on average, on jewelry purchases during the 2003 holiday season, compared to 2002. They are also increasingly attracted to the experience of luxury, the feelings and emotions luxury invokes, and the way luxury purchases express their values and attitudes. These are among the key findings of Unity Marketing's 2003 year-end luxury consumer survey, released Jan. 19.

There was an interesting finding for jewelry and diamond branders. Unity's survey found the majority of consumers think the luxury products brand is very important in only two key categories, luxury automobiles and luxury beauty and fragrances. For every other category less than half of the consumers rated luxury brand as very important in their last purchase decision.

Unity Marketing also found that while luxury consumers continue to be bargain shoppers, enjoying the experience of saving money while buying luxuries, they draw the line when it comes to buying jewelry, fashion and beauty products. Department stores and specialty retail still lead in this realm. When it comes to home luxuries, however, discounters and other off-price stores are the favorite shopping source.

Unity's survey included consumers with incomes of $100,000 and above, along with a comparative sample of upper middle-income consumers from $50,000 to just under $100,000. Unity notes its findings jibe with the Elite Traveler 2003 Luxury Spending Survey, which examined 431 individuals in three segments based upon affluence: Elite Affluent, those with a net worth in excess of $10 million; Upper Affluent Plus, individuals with a net worth between $5 million and $10 million; and Upper Affluent, those with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million.

Both surveys found that while jewelry was high on buying lists during the 2003 holiday shopping season, the biggest luxury product winners were electronics and spa and health resort spending, reflecting affluent buyers' passion for experiences. "Luxury is no longer about rampant materialism or having and getting, but the enjoyment and reveling in the luxury experience," says Unity.

Unity Marketing also observed that luxury trends are moving faster downstream, increasing the pressure on luxury marketers to stay ahead of the curve in attracting their customers. The good news is the quick move from "class to mass" helps more mainstream marketers determine coming new trends by looking at the luxury market today.

For more information contact Pam Danziger, president, Unity Marketing; (717) 336-1600,

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