Luxury products purchased by consumers with over $100,000 annual income, ranked by percentage of consumers buying products in a specific category.

That high-income consumers with household incomes of over $100,000 purchaseluxury categories more often than shoppers earning between $50,000 to $99,999, should come as no surprise. There are great differences in art and antiques (24 percent for the wealthier group versus 7 percent), linens and bedding (38 percent versus 22 percent), automobiles (28 percent versus 13 percent), and fabrics and wall coverings (33 percent versus 18 percent), which stands to reason. However, apparel and accessories also showed a significant difference of 21 points, while fragrance and beauty had an 18-point spread between the two groups. Unity Marketing’s Pamela Danziger, who wrote the book "Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need," says the answer lies as much in the consumer’s mind-set as income level. Higher-income shoppers consider most of the categories on this list to be necessities, regardless of the price. Of course, the fashion and beauty industries have been trying to convince shoppers that they can’t live without apparel and fragrance for years.



1

ELECTRONICS

Household income over $100,000: 55 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 41 percent

Products such as electronics and books are strongly linked to educational achievement. Flat-screen and plasma TVs are driving spending in this area, and DVD players are replacing VCRs.



2

FRAGRANCE AND BEAUTY

Income over $100,000: 49 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 31 percent

There is a high purchase incidence among luxury consumers in the fragrance and beauty category; the products are perceived to be a regular indulgence. While department store fragrances are perceived to be superior to mass market brands, shoppers discern little difference in the color cosmetics arena.



3

GARDEN

Income over $100,000: 47 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 39 percent

The most important reason consumers buy things they don’t need is to improve their quality of life, according to Danziger, who said 89 percent of respondents listed this as their top source of motivation.

4

APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES

Income over $100,000: 47 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 26 percent

Fashion is perceived by luxury shoppers to be a necessity for their lives. They believe they must dress appropriately for social occasions and professional events. They like high quality, but eschew trends that seem fleeting.



5

*FURNITURE AND FLOOR COVERING

Income over $100,000: 38 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 25 percent

According to a survey by Unity Marketing, 83 percent of respondents said they buy discretionary items to beautify their homes. The store where the furniture was bought is more important than the actual brand. For example, Ethan Allen was frequently mentioned as a source for furniture.



6

*LINENS AND BEDDING

Income over $100,000: 38 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 22 percent

Comfort is a high priority, and consumers are drawn to high-quality fabrics with good design and superior detailing. Egyptian cotton and 500 thread count and above are the magic words for sheets and pillow cases.



7

JEWELRY AND WATCHES

Income over $100,000: 35 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 23 percent

About one-third of luxury consumers bought jewelry and watches in the past year. There’s a trend toward collecting fewer, higher-quality pieces of jewelry, especially one-of-a-kind pieces that aren’t found in every store.



8

FABRICS, WALL COVERINGS, WINDOW TREATMENTS

Income over $100,000: 33 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 18 percent

Consumers identify luxury fabric and wall coverings by touch and feel and aren’t averse to paying a premium for quality. They are also keen on customized service if it helps them personalize their homes.



9

*KITCHEN APPLIANCES

Income over $100,000: 32 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 22 percent

The luxury end of the appliance industry accounts for an estimated $5 billion of the total $31.5 billion in sales. Viking, one of the top sellers in this category, opened culinary arts centers to demonstrate its products.

10

*KITCHENWARE AND COOKWARE

Income over $100,000: 32 percent

Income between $50,000 and $99,999: 20 percent

This category is viewed as more of a necessity than a luxury because it’s used every day. Most appreciate the superior performance and extra features of high-end cookware.



SOURCE: UNITY MARKETING, STEVENS, PA. TELEPHONE SURVEY OF 866 AFFLUENT HOMEOWNERS OVER MEDIAN INCOME. * Signifies a tie

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