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More than 90% of consumers buy luxury as it embraces mani-pedis

December 6, 2011 | 12:31 pm

The vast majority of Americans are embracing the luxury market -- but that’s at least in part because the definition has broadened since the recession, according to a new report.

It’s not just Mercedes-Benz cars or Cartier watches that count as luxurious purchases, according to research group Ipsos Mendelsohn in data posted on AdAge. Many consumers now consider a Prius, an upgrade to a current wedding band or even a manicure-pedicure as a high-end buy.

Luxury isn’t the same as it was five years ago, 65% of wealthy people said. Instead, it can involve smaller and more intimate expenses in addition to grand purchases.

Nearly nine in 10 of survey respondents said they bargain-hunt while shopping for luxury goods while only a quarter said discounts lowered the perception of luxury.

Within those relaxed parameters, 94% of people from households with at least $100,000 in annual income said they’ve made at least one luxury purchase this year, while 70% plan to do the same in 2012. Even in lower-income households, 92% picked up a luxury item or service and 60% intend to also do so next year.

Ipsos Mendelsohn said the luxury industry pulls in $1.6 trillion a year, 18% from the auto sector, 12% from personal insurance and 11% each from home and gardening, education and groceries.

The rest of the pie is split between travel, apparel and accessories, leisure, entertainment, dining, charitable donations, personal care, electronics, alcoholic beverages and more.


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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Jerome Favre / Bloomberg