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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Wealthy consumers feeling less confident

October 2, 2008

buffet-bill.jpgCheck Out over 71 percent of affluent consumers, or 10 percent of American families, saying the U.S. real estate and banking crisis is affecting their sense of financial security and the value of their assets.

The poll, conducted by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, says nearly 6 in 10 survey respondents are worried about running out of money, including 48 percent of America’s wealthiest families.  That’s up from 35 percent in April.  The survey was conducted Sept. 19-23 and included 614 people with a median income of $325,000.

“The affluent and wealthy, who account for 50 percent of U.S. consumption, are becoming more thoughtful, getting on top of their spending and worrying more about the future of their children,” said Jim Taylor, vice chairman of the Harrison Group.  “Nearly half of our respondents are owners of or senior officers in American businesses, so we expect the growing caution to spill over into capital and human resources decisions.”

Around 75 percent of respondents felt the country is now in a recession, and 60 percent thought the recession would last more than a year, up from 55 percent in June.

The wealthy are also less keen on buying luxury items.  Half of all respondents agreed that “a few luxuries are important in tough times,” down from 61 percent in April and June 2008. But only 2 percent reported eliminating luxury all together, opting instead to buy fewer items.

Also in the basket:

Constellation Brands profit tops view, keeps outlook (Reuters)

Next buys women’s fashion brand Lipsy for $31 mln (Reuters)

But Wait! There’s More! (Again) (NY Times)


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