“Interest in luxury is trending up, but this interest is qualitatively different from the unbridled enthusiasm that characterized the ‘glutonomy’ of the mid-2000s,” said Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison. “People take pride in the way they have managed their finances and family through the recession. We are decidedly not seeing the return of the old economy.

The rich are spending again, but marketing experts insist we won’t be going back to the gluttonous days the 2000s–as fun as they were. A new online survey by the Harrison Group and American Express Publishing, of more than 1,900 consumers with more than $100,000 of discretionary income (and a mean of $52,000), found that more than 50% are optimistic about their future. Fully 94% believe the country is still in recession. And affluent and wealthy American consumers see themselves as succeeding in the present economy (75%) but generally judge everybody else as struggling. Yet they are opening up their Gucci wallets again. Fewer people said they feel guilty purchasing luxury goods (from 54% to 45% in past year) and more say they like it when others recognize them as being wealthy (up from 30% to 42% in past year). Harrison Group estimates discretionary spending by the affluent and wealthy will rise by $56 billion in the next year, with $28 billion going to luxury, marking a 6% to 8% jump. Big winners in the luxury space will be automotive, travel, services, and children’s clothing.
By Robert Frank, April 28, 2010 WSJ

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