SOURCE: Luxury Institute

May 15, 2007 11:00 ET

How and What the Wealthy Decide to Buy: Men and Women Share Interest in Researching, Shopping and Buying a Wide Variety of Luxury Goods; Who Decides What Jewelry to Buy?

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 15, 2007 -- Defying the spendthrift stereotype, most wealthy Americans are circumspect when making large purchases. According to a Luxury Institute survey exploring the decision-making process and role of Americans earning at least $150,000 annually, 88 percent of wealthy baby boomers (age 45+ and 86 percent of the wealthy overall) research big-ticket goods and services before they purchasing. Nearly half of the wealthy, 44 years of age and younger, even set a budget.

Clear but complementary differences exist between the roles of men and women at various stages of the luxury buying process. To better understand the influence at each step, the Luxury Institute asked wealthy men and women who in the household participates at each of six steps in the purchase cycle: expressing a need; conducting research; evaluating brand options; setting a budget; making a final decision; and making the purchase.

In some categories, women dominate every step of the way. For example, in fine china and glassware, women express a need in 88 percent of households (men do so in 33 percent) and women retain an 81-41 advantage in making the final decision. Even when one partner seems to dominate, there is usually collaboration. For example, more than three fourths (78 percent) of wealthy households say that women initially express the need for jewelry. Once the need is expressed, the percentage of men engaged in the purchase process more than doubles -- 54 percent participate in the final decision, and men are more likely than women to make the actual jewelry purchase.

Women are also generally more involved than men with home furnishings and bathroom fixtures, although a majority of men do play significant roles.

In financial affairs, men make the final insurance buying decisions in 85 percent of households, but this is clearly a shared decision: Nearly half (46 percent) of households say that women decide on insurance. Even in electronics, where men make final buying decisions in 89 percent of households, women are involved in the final purchase in 40 percent -- and they provide the spark for electronics purchases in 45 percent of wealthy households.

Respondents had an average net worth of $3 million, and an average annual income of $288,000. Members of the Luxury Institute's Luxury Board may access full results and more interpretation of all Luxury Institute surveys at www.luxuryboard.com.

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the Luxury Board (www.luxuryboard.com), the world's first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs To reach the Luxury Institute, please call 646-792-2669 or go to www.luxuryinstitute.com.

Contact Information