America is the largest economy in the world. Minor fluctuations when converted to absolute numbers are huge and create a major impact. The economic indicators are positive today. The economy is finally coming out of the recession. A poll conducted amongst the affluent Americans indicates a positive change in the consumer sentiment. This is the sixth annual American Express Publishing and Harrison Group survey and it estimates that the rich Americans, including the new rich and the ultra rich, are expected to spend an extra $26.6 billion on luxury goods this year. It represents a growth of 8% over last year. The Harrison Group doesn’t believe in ranking world’s rich but studies their spending habits and behavior.
Recession, to a certain extent has changed the consumer. If you want to highlight one positive that the consumers have taken from the recession it would certainly be the learning of the art of survival. It has made the consumer tougher and proud of his ability to fight his way out of the lean period. He will now be seeking value, quality and service for their money. Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group explained that the consumers will spend more on luxury but will now be more prudent about how and where they spend it. The days of impulsive spending and purchase decisions are almost gone.
The top 10% of the wealthy Americans account for 50% of all consumer spending in the US. So it is very important for marketers to understand the consumer sentiment and rework their strategies accordingly. Recession has made the consumer more mature. The increase in his spending is going to be more sensible now. Consumers are less anxious today but the gloom of recession has not lifted completely. It will require two to three really good consecutive years for that reckless attitude of the consumer to come back. The economy is back on the road to recovery and the indications are that the next year will be better than this year.