Luxury spending by rich to rise

Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:21pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rich Americans are expected to spend an extra $26.6 billion on luxury goods this year but they will do so with an eye toward value as the country recovers from recession, a poll released on Friday found.

Spending on luxuries, excluding cars and travel, is set to rise 8 percent to $359 billion compared to 2010, according to the sixth annual American Express Publishing and Harrison Group survey.

While the number of affluent families planning to spend more has almost doubled in the past three years, they are emerging from the recession seeking value, quality and service for their money, said Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group.

"There will be more money spent, but it doesn't mean it won't be spent without the prudent skills learned as the result of a very difficult recession," Taylor said.

"This is a survivor's economy with people who have succeeded in surviving the recession demanding a new form of respect," he told a news conference.

The Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America polled 1,458 families with a discretionary income of more than $100,000 -- representing the wealthiest 10 percent in the United States who account for about 50 percent of all consumer spending.

It found that 15 percent of these families plan to spend more in 2011, up a quarter from 2010 and almost double from 2008. The number of families cutting spending was nearly halved from last year to 9 percent and down two-thirds from 2008.

LESS ANXIOUS   Continued...

<p>A model displays an emerald-cut white diamond, set as a ring, during an auction preview at Sotheby's in Geneva May 5, 2010. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud</p>