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Consumer Attitudes Toward Luxury Goods - US - March 2010

The poor economy has influenced US consumer attitudes and their purchasing behavior for all consumer products and services. The word luxury is used so often that its meaning has become diluted. The terms affluent luxury and aspirational luxury are also blurring as premium brands trade down and mid-priced brands trade up. Conspicuous consumption has been replaced with affordable luxury as consumers increasingly seek value over status. Mintel’s exclusive survey explores how consumers define luxury goods and how their attitudes and behavior towards owning luxury items are shifting. The key areas discussed in this report include:

  • An in-depth look at how the average consumer defines luxury (beyond the obvious super high-end market items)
  • Consumers’ purchasing frequency of luxury items as defined by the survey respondents
  • Behavior including shopping habits and how perceptions about luxury change based on brand exposure
  • Purchase categories by high/medium/bargain basement pricepoints
  • The impact of the recession and how purchasing fluctuates during the economic correction
  • A look at current activity in the marketplace and what companies are doing to maintain or grow business in response to retail closures and sales declines in non-necessity markets

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Abbreviations and terms
              • Abbreviations
                • Terms
                • Executive Summary

                  • Defining luxury purchases
                    • Shopping habits and perception of luxury purchases
                      • Purchase categories by price point
                        • Impact of the recession on luxury purchases
                        • Insights and Opportunities

                          • Store openings and closings
                            • Extending the brand
                              • Forced and proactive closures
                                • New customers; no change
                                  • Luxury designers go mainstream
                                    • Quicker turn-around
                                      • Opulent ingredients
                                        • A focus on men
                                          • Conspicuous consumption waning
                                          • Inspire Insights

                                              • The tyranny of value
                                                • What we’ve seen
                                                  • Dipping a toe into the luxury pool
                                                  • Innovation and Innovators

                                                    • Attention grabber
                                                      • Alternative beauty distribution
                                                        • Vending machines—a new retail venue
                                                          • Partnerships
                                                            • In the know
                                                            • Defining Luxury Purchases

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Meeting the “luxury” criteria
                                                                  • Figure 1: Defining luxury purchases, by gender, December 2009
                                                                  • Figure 2: Defining luxury purchases, by age, December 2009
                                                                  • Figure 3: Defining luxury purchases, by household income, December 2009
                                                                  • Figure 4: Defining luxury purchases, by education, December 2009
                                                              • Shopping Habits and Perception of Luxury Purchases

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Number of luxury purchases made
                                                                    • Figure 5: Frequency of luxury purchasing, by gender, December 2009
                                                                  • Views concerning luxury purchases
                                                                    • Figure 6: Views on luxury purchasing, by gender, December 2009
                                                                    • Figure 7: Views on luxury purchasing, by age, December 2009
                                                                    • Figure 8: Views on luxury purchasing, by household income, December 2009
                                                                • Purchase Categories by Price Point

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Purchases by sector
                                                                      • Beauty products
                                                                        • Automobiles
                                                                          • Jewelry and watches
                                                                            • Clothing
                                                                              • Footwear
                                                                                • Handbags
                                                                                  • Electronics
                                                                                    • Home appliances
                                                                                      • Sporting goods
                                                                                        • Figure 9: Purchases made by category and gender, December 2009
                                                                                        • Figure 10: Purchases made by price point, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                        • Figure 11: Purchases made by price point, by age, December 2009
                                                                                        • Figure 12: Purchases made by price point, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                    • Impact of the Recession on Luxury Purchases

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Recessionary impact on luxury purchases by demographics
                                                                                          • Figure 13: Recessionary impact, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                          • Figure 14: Recessionary impact, by age, December 2009
                                                                                          • Figure 15: Recessionary impact, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                          • Figure 16: Recessionary impact, by education level, December 2009
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Recessionary impact, by region, December 2009
                                                                                      • How Brand Exposure Effects Luxury Status

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • The pursuit of obvious branding
                                                                                              • Figure 18: How product attributes affect luxury status, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                              • Figure 19: How product attributes affect luxury status, by age, December 2009
                                                                                              • Figure 20: How product attributes affect luxury status, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                          • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Defining luxury
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Defining luxury purchases, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                • Attitudes towards making luxury purchases
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Views on luxury purchasing, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                • Brand exposure and luxury status
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: How product attributes affect luxury status, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                • Recessionary impact on luxury purchases
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Recessionary impact, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                              • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                  • Low-Luxers
                                                                                                    • Who they are
                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                        • Opportunists
                                                                                                          • Who they are
                                                                                                            • Opportunity
                                                                                                              • Big Spenders
                                                                                                                • Who they are
                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                    • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Luxury good clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Defining luxury purchases, by luxury good clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Views on luxury purchasing, by luxury good clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Frequency of luxury purchasing, by luxury good clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: How product attributes affect luxury status, by luxury good clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Recessionary impact, by luxury good clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                    • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Luxury good clusters, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Luxury good clusters, by age group, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Luxury good clusters, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Luxury good clusters, by race, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Luxury good clusters, by Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                    • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                    • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Defining luxury, by marital status, December 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Perceptions about luxury purchasing, by marital status, December 2009
                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Recessionary impact, by marital status, December 2009
                                                                                                                      • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                        • Balenciaga
                                                                                                                        • Bloomingdale's
                                                                                                                        • Burberry (USA)
                                                                                                                        • Calvin Klein, Inc.
                                                                                                                        • Cartier SA
                                                                                                                        • Chanel USA
                                                                                                                        • Dillard's, Inc
                                                                                                                        • Dolce & Gabbana
                                                                                                                        • Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (The)
                                                                                                                        • Frederic Fekkai
                                                                                                                        • Giorgio Armani S.p.A.
                                                                                                                        • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                        • Gucci Group N.V.
                                                                                                                        • H&M (USA)
                                                                                                                        • Henri Bendel
                                                                                                                        • J C Penney Company, Inc
                                                                                                                        • Lancôme
                                                                                                                        • Lord & Taylor
                                                                                                                        • Macy's, Inc.
                                                                                                                        • Nordstrom
                                                                                                                        • Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation
                                                                                                                        • Prada USA Corp.
                                                                                                                        • Roberto Cavalli
                                                                                                                        • Saks Incorporated
                                                                                                                        • Sephora
                                                                                                                        • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                        • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                        • Vera Wang
                                                                                                                        • Walgreen Co

                                                                                                                        Consumer Attitudes Toward Luxury Goods - US - March 2010

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