Wealthy Americans are heading into holiday conspicuously lacking in seasonal spirit.
A study by Unity Marketing of 1,208 consumers with average incomes of $267,000 revealed a sharp downturn in the spending intentions of the affluent for both the holiday season and the next 12 months. This was coupled with a less-optimistic view of economic conditions in general and their own financial opportunities in particular.
One-quarter of respondents said they would spend less on holiday gifts this year and 18 percent expect to spend more. The average gift budget among these consumers is $1,730.
The less-generous holiday approach is mirrored by spending intentions for the coming year. Just 20 percent said they plan to spend more in the coming 12 months versus 28 who expect to spend less. That’s a reversal of the responses one year ago, when 31 percent anticipated a boost in their spending and 18 percent a reduction in it.
The survey was taken from Oct. 3 to 10, just after the start of the government shutdown. Pam Danziger, president of Unity, emphasized that recent erosions in sentiment and luxury spending, as measured by her firm, suggest “a weak turnout for the holiday shopping season this fourth quarter” and concern among wealthy individuals about “continued uncertainty ahead in terms of governmental policy and its impact on business.”
Half of the respondents said they believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction, more than twice the 24 percent who felt that way one year ago.
Their reservations extend to their own financial circumstances, with only 40 percent expecting improvement in the next year, down from 52 percent a year ago.
“Affluents generally are very optimistic about their ability to weather financial ups and downs, but in the latest survey, they express an uncharacteristic pessimism,” Danziger said.
She added that retailers “will have to pull out all the stops in terms of promotions and discounting this season” to attract the wealthy, who place bargain pricing ahead of all other considerations in making holiday purchases despite their high incomes. The second-most important feature was that the products they purchase be made in the U.S.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)