Atlanta–While retailers report they are concerned that the general population may be pulling back on non-essential, discretionary purchases this fall, indications are that the wealthiest 10% of U.S. households based on net worth may give a boost to holiday gift purchases.
Preliminary results by The American Affluence Research Center found that the average expenditure for holiday gifts by the affluent will decline by about 2% to $2,513, which equates to about four times the gift expenditures of the average U.S. household. Nonetheless, since a higher percentage of affluent households are making gift purchases, their total purchases will equal about a 2.2% increase over the $27 billion in their estimated gift purchases in 2012.
The Affluent Market Tracking Study #24, the latest in a series of twice yearly surveys by The American Affluence Research Center, reports that 97% of those surveyed say they will purchase holiday gifts this year, which is an increase from 93% in 2012 and 91% in 2011. These affluent households report spending an average of $2,564 for holiday gifts in 2012, which is 23% higher than they had originally anticipated in the 2012 survey.
Apparel, Accessories Top Gift Lists
Among those planning to purchase holiday gifts this year, 73% say they will spend the same as last year and 7% say they will spend more (an average of 10% more) on holiday gifts as they did in 2012. About 20% say they will spend less (about 14% on average).
The 11.4 million households represented by the American Affluence Research Center survey account for almost half of total consumer spending. Their mood and spending plans are often influenced by changes in the stock market and Washington politics. However, it gridlock and partisan politics continue, the spending mood could be stifled, even among the affluent.
Apparel and accessories play a big part of holiday wish lists, too. When asked for what topped their wish lists, affluent women cited money/gift cards (44%), clothing (31%), and fine jewelry/watch (33%). For affluent men, the top gift expectations are money/gift cards (46%), clothing (40%), and books/DVDs/etc. (22%).
The survey is based on a national sample representative of the wealthiest 10% of Americans based on net worth of $800,000 or more. The respondents reported an average net worth of $3.1 million.
Other key findings from the Fall 2013 Affluent Market Tracking Study #24 include:
• This year, 97% of affluent consumers will buy holiday (Christmas or Hanukkah) gifts. In 2012, the figure was 93%. In 2011, it was 91%. In 2010, it registered at 88% a drop from the 91% recorded in 2009, and the high of 97% in pre-recession 2006.
• This year 7% of affluent consumers say they will spend more on holiday gifts than in 2012, and 73% say they will spend the same. That’s an increase from 2012, when 6% said they would spend more and 71% said they would spend the same.
• With 7% saying they will spend more (an average of 10%) and 20% saying they will spend less (an average of 14%) the weighted average change in spending per affluent household is estimated to be negative 2%.