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Friday, November 12, 2010

Affluent Americans Replacing Jewelry and Watches with Leisure

With the difficult recovery, affluent Americans are discovering that the most valued goods, services and experiences are not material, but leisure-oriented pursuits, according to the study of households with an average income of $332,000 and a net worth of $3.3 million. The conclusions suggest that while conspicuous consumption is on the wane, conspicuous leisure may soon be on the rise.

The tastes of the affluent have changed little since 2008, with only the desires for electric/hybrid cars and jewelry dropping significantly, according to the study by the Luxury Institute, a market research firm, and Resonance Consultancy, a branding and communications firm.

“In tough economic times, it's not surprising that wealthy consumers are shying away from more visual displays of wealth such as fine jewelry and watches,” says Milton Pedraza, Luxury Institute CEO. “The good news is that the desirability of philanthropy has held steady. Large gifts are a very public way of communicating status.”

Companies that will benefit by the shift from conspicuous consumption to conspicuous leisure are likely to be high-end resorts, highly-differentiated hotels and experience purveyors from travel and tour curators to leisure outfitters, according to the study, what was done as a partnership with the Resonance Consultancy, which specializes in developing brand strategies.

“Affluent households today consider leisure-oriented pursuits such as exotic vacations, vacation homes, the freedom to work from home and extended time off work to be the most desirable luxuries,” says Chris Fair, president of Resonance Consultancy. “It's a significant change from the past when the most desired luxuries were usually material goods.”

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