Affluent consumers are being thriftier and are more concerned about U.S. economic recovery than health care reform, according to a new study.
The report by BIGresearch of Columbus, Ohio, based on responses from over 4,000 people last month, showed consumers with household incomes of at least $100,000 or more were making numerous concessions to the economic downturn and were growing impatient with their elected representatives.
“The data is showing that the recession is affecting everyone, regardless of income,” said Pam Goodfellow, senior analyst at BIGresearch. “It’s become more and more chic to save money, and [the affluent] talk about coupons and sales at the country club now.”
Just as many people who were raised during the Great Depression remained thrifty. “Today’s consumers will remember this time, retain some of their shopping strategies and spend accordingly,” Goodfellow predicted.
Among consumers with household incomes of $150,000 or above, 49.5 percent described themselves as being “more practical in their purchases” compared with 31.5 percent of those surveyed two years ago, and 44.2 percent said they were more budget-conscious, up from 25.1 percent in August 2007.
The percentage of respondents saying they only bought apparel on sale moved up slightly, to 15 percent from 13.7 percent, but those saying they made greater use of coupons more than doubled, to 30.8 percent from 15.1 percent. Those who acknowledged they were increasing their purchases of store brand and generic products more than tripled, to 20.1 percent from 6.6 percent two years ago.
Apparel purchasing was more affected among those in the $100,000-to-$149,000 household income category, with 21.4 percent indicating they were only buying clothes on sale, compared with 15.7 percent in August 2007. Forty-seven percent said they were more practical in their purchases, up from 38.5 percent, and 42.6 percent indicated they were more budget-conscious, versus 33.4 percent.
Increased use of coupons was indicated by 29.1 percent of the respondents in the $100,000-to-$149,000 bracket, up from 23.8 percent, and greater reliance on store brand and generic products reached 23.1 percent, up from 15.5 percent two years ago.
More than one-third of the respondents in the $100,000-to-$149,000 bracket — 34 percent — expect to spend less on holiday gifts this year, versus 27.6 percent of the wealthier sample. Just 2.1 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, expect to spend more.
Asked if they were less wealthy than a year ago, more than half — 54.8 percent — of those in the $100,000-to-$149,000 category answered in the affirmative versus 49.3 percent in the $150,000-and-up group. Twenty-two percent of the higher-income group said they felt wealthier than a year ago versus 11.6 percent of the $100,000-to-$149,000 bracket.
Those sentiments notwithstanding, both groups felt better about the economy than a month or a year ago. Among those with incomes of $150,000 or higher, 38.6 percent felt confident or very confident about the economy last month, versus 29.6 percent in July and 33.7 percent last August. In the $100,0000-to-$149,000 bracket, 35.8 percent felt confident or very confident, up from 27.5 percent in July and 26.9 percent in August 2008.
Despite the more positive attitude about economic conditions, the respondents’ feelings about their personal wealth were reflected in negative attitudes about Washington. Almost three-quarters — 74.9 percent — of consumers in the $100,000-to-$149,000 group said voters have lost their voice in the federal government, versus 66.2 percent of the higher-income group. More than 80 percent of each group — 82.8 percent of the higher income and 83.4 percent of other category — think Congress and President Obama should fix the economy before tackling health care reform. More than half in each group — 56.6 percent and 61.1 percent, respectively — suggested they have doubts about the government’s ability to effectively deal with health care.
Asked about “cap and trade” legislation, 28.3 percent of the higher-income group said it will eliminate jobs and 30.2 percent in the other income category said it will hurt the economy.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye