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Consumer Trends

High-income consumers not letting inflation, recession worries change shopping habits

Luxury shoppers are spending more on treating themselves and paying more attention to wellness products.

High-income consumers not letting inflation, recession worries change shopping habitsPhoto by

| by Judy Mottl — Editor, &

Inflation, the threat of a recession and overall anxiety about increasing costs aren't getting in the way of consumers who love luxury.

In fact, high-end consumers haven't stopped spending on a luxury lifestyle and interest in luxury health and wellness is increasing.

That's the prime finding of the most recent Saks Luxury Pulse, a periodic online survey of luxury consumers' attitudes towards shopping, spending and fashion trends conducted in May. The survey program began in March 2021 to gauge customer sentiment in light of the pandemic.

"When asked to describe their current mood as the pandemic continues, the most common emotion in each survey has been 'hopeful,'" Gaby Aiguesvives, SVP, marketing strategy, analytics and loyalty, Saks, told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.

The survey found higher income consumers are continuing to spend on luxury, including treating themselves with fashion and vacations and more are prioritizing health and wellness — 76% of those polled with an income of $200,000 or higher plan to buy the same or even more luxury items in the next few months than they did in the past three months.

When asked where they would spend an extra $500, those with an income of $200,000 or higher plan to spend on vacation, leisure travel, shoes, accessories and handbags.

"Core luxury customers have already decided that they are interested in buying luxury, and we believe they will continue to look to Saks for luxury despite inflationary times, though we know the environment can change rapidly," said Aiguesvives. "At Saks, we are always paying close attention to the evolving macro environment and the insights from the Saks Luxury Pulse reinforce our perspective on the luxury consumer."

The survey also revealed 85% are planning to shop the same amount or more online in the next three months, and when it comes to splurging, 80% said it is likely it will be for themselves. Forty-eight percent plan to shop the same amount online and the same amount in-store as they have for the past three months.

Customers shopped mostly online in the past three months for clothing (54%), beauty, skincare or grooming (46%), and shoes (49%)," said Aiguesvives.

With regard to wellness and home products, about two in five, 41%, are putting wellness high on the list, specifically rest, nutrition and self-care, more now than prior to the pandemic. Bed and bath product, home décor and candles were top items, according to the survey.

"Since the pandemic, consumers have developed an increased interest in wellness. A 2021 McKinsey survey of roughly 7,500 consumers in six countries found that consumers care deeply about wellness — and their interest is growing. While consumers were stuck in their homes with nowhere to go, many turned to at-home workouts and found ways to treat themselves through self care," said Aiguesvives.

Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is editor of Retail Customer Experience and Food Truck Operator. She has decades of experience as a reporter, writer and editor covering technology and business for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews.

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