Unity Marketing's measure of affluent consumer confidence, the Luxury Consumption Index (LCI), rose 4 points to 76.1 for the first quarter of 2011.
"The uptick in this quarter's LCI reveals a more positive outlook among affluent consumers about the economy at large, as well as their personal economic situation," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. "Affluents backed up their growing confidence by spending 4.1% more on luxury goods and services in the fourth quarter as compared with the same period last year."
Luxury categories that posted strongest growth year-over-year as measured by the average amount spent by affluents, included:
• Luxury cook's tools, kitchenwares, and housewares, a popular gift category. Demand was strong for high-end kitchen appliances (food processors, juicers, espresso machines) and cookware purchased at specialty gourmet cooking stores.
• Consumer electronics, including high-end televisions for the home and personal electronics (digital book readers were a hot gift item).
While the luxury market will not see the same boom it experienced in the 2003-2007 time frame, the latest uptick in the LCI, "may signify that the recent bump in retail demand may be sustainable," said Tom Bodenberg, Unity Marketing's chief consumer economist.
The latest luxury consumer survey results are published in Unity Marketing's Luxury Tracking Report 1Q2011. The survey was conducted Jan. 6-13, 2011, among 1237 affluent luxury consumers (average income $308,700; median net worth $861,000; age 43.9 yrs; 42% male and 58% female).
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