SOURCE: Unity Marketing

July 14, 2010 07:50 ET

Fewer Affluent Households Invested in Luxuries for Their Home Last Year, but Those Who Made Purchases Spent Significantly More

Unity Marketing's Home Luxury Report Details Major Changes in the Purchase of Home Luxuries and How Marketers Should Respond

STEVENS, PA--(Marketwire - July 14, 2010) -  In the category of home luxuries -- items for one's home, like art and antiques, garden and outdoor items, and linens and bedding -- 2009 was a rocky year. Far fewer affluent consumers purchased items from this category, finds the new Home Luxury Report 2010 from Unity Marketing. However, those who made purchases spent on average 50 percent more than they spent on luxuries for their home in 2008. The latest report is based upon surveys among 4,739 luxury consumers with an average income of about $220,200. This sample is representative of the approximately 22 million affluent households in the country.

"The contraction in the percentage of affluents buying home luxuries -- from 52 percent in 2006 to 41 percent in 2009 -- is a cause for concern for marketers," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the report. "However, significantly higher levels of spending from affluents who did make a home luxury purchase should have a moderating effect for marketers." Some key findings include:

  • In art and antiques, the big story is original art. Affluents want -- and are willing to pay for -- that one-of-a-kind piece.

  • In home electronics, televisions were the big mover. In electronics brands, both for home and personal electronics purchases, it is no surprise that Apple is luxury consumers' favorite brand. Bose is another popular electronics brand, especially among the most affluent shoppers.

  • For home decorating fabrics, window and wall coverings, interior decorators significantly increased their penetration in this market in 2009, ranking as the second most popular source for these goods. The Internet too rose in importance for shoppers.

  • Affluent home owners invested in lots of new lamps and lighting accents in 2009. Home improvement stores gained share of retail sales in the furniture, light and rug category as a result.

  • All things luxury for outdoor living got a boost in 2009. From outdoor furniture, power equipment, lighting, water features and barbecue grills, luxury consumers invested more in their outdoor living spaces.

  • Perhaps in response to less dining out, affluents moved their home cooking up a notch in 2009. They invested more in cook's tools such as small kitchen appliances, cookware, cutlery and bakeware. They also turned to specialty gourmet cooking stores as their #1 destination for their housewares purchases, knocking department stores into second place. The Internet was the third most popular destination.

  • Affluents also picked up investment in their kitchens by buying more luxury kitchen appliances and other kitchen equipment such as cabinets, countertops and sinks. Specialty appliance dealers benefited strongly from these investments, ranking as the second most popular destination for luxury shoppers after the big-box home improvement stores.

  • Affluents slept better in 2009, at least as measured by greater spending on mattresses and box springs and bed linens.

  • Affluents who purchased luxury tabletop declined in 2009, but those who bought spent over 50 percent more. Specialty gourmet stores and the internet picked up market share of affluents' spending on tabletop, while department stores and specialty home furnishings stores lost share. For the first year in luxury tracking, Waterford beat out Lenox as the top tabletop brand.

"As we can see from some of the major take-aways from this most recent home luxuries study, those affluents who are still buying home luxuries are spending more, but their spending patterns have shifted to new items, new brands, and new channels of distribution," says Danziger. "The home luxuries marketer is charged with navigating new terrain, and this kind of consumer intelligence research can serve as a much-needed road map."

About the Home Luxury Report 2010

Unity Marketing's Home Luxury Report 2010 is the ultimate guide to the U.S. market for luxury goods for the home. This report focuses on the buying and spending habits of the nation's affluent households -- the top quintile or 20 percent of U.S. consumer households -- of high-end or luxury products and services.

The Home Luxury Report examines consumers' buying behavior and spending habits related to these key categories of luxury purchases:

  • Art & Antiques
  • Electronics & Photography Equipment
  • Home Decorating Fabrics, Window & Wall Coverings
  • Furniture, Lamps, Rugs & Floor Coverings
  • Garden, Outdoor, Lawn & Patio
  • Kitchenware, Cookware, Cook's Tools
  • Kitchen Appliances, Bath & Building Products
  • Linens & Bedding Products
  • Tabletop, Dinnerware, Flatware & Servingware

The report contains details on these nine luxury goods categories bought by affluent consumers, including annual spending, where these products were purchased and details of the types of products and services bought. This year's report contains trend data covering 2007 through 2009.

The Home Luxury Report 2010 is written by Pam Danziger, an internationally-recognized expert on the luxury market, and is based upon the kind of in-depth consumer research for which Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing are known.

Guides luxury marketers to shifts and changes in their target customers' attitudes and shopping behavior

This report provides vital data about what luxuries affluents are buying, how much they are spending, where they are making their purchases and what brands they favor. This report provides invaluable information about the mindset, attitudes and spending habits of the affluent consumers that luxury marketers target. This is not just a report about people with high incomes, but affluents who buy luxury goods and services.

Luxury Marketers: This is a report about your customers & your target customers

The Home Luxury Report 2010 is a compilation of the quarterly luxury tracking surveys that Unity Marketing conducts every three months with 1,000-1,250 affluent consumers who purchased one or more luxuries in the study period. Unity's luxury tracking study is the only longitudinal study of its kind that tracks the luxury consumer market, what they buy, how much they spend. The survey sample of 4,739 luxury consumers surveyed in 2009 with an average income of about $220,200 is representative of the 22 million affluent households in the country.

This report doesn't stop with the data -- It pushes further to help marketers and retailers put the information to use

Translate the data into information that marketing executives can use to make critical strategic decisions

This market research report helps make the research data and findings accessible and useable. It provides marketers with three powerful perspectives: "The What," "So What" and "Now What." This report is filled with advice and guidance for luxury marketers to take action on the research findings revealed.

About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer. She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

Pam gives luxury marketers "All Access" to the mind of the luxury consumer. She uses qualitative and quantitative market research to learn about their brand preferences, shopping habits, and attitudes about their luxury lifestyles, then turns these insights into actionable strategies marketers can use to reach these high spending consumers. Unity Marketing is the voice of the luxury consumer for such clients as PPR, Diageo, Tempur-Pedic, Google, Swarovski, Constellation Wines, Luxottica, Orient-Express Hotels, Italian Trade Commission, Marie Claire magazine, The World Gold Council, and The Conference Board.

She is currently working on a new book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, to be published in late 2010 by Paramount Market Publishing. Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses -- as well as the Classes, (Dearborn Trade Publishing, $27, hardcover) and Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior (Chicago: Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004).

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Pam Danziger