Luxury Sans Borders

A survey of the rich in 7 countries reveals how they spend their money.


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survey of the rich in 7 countries reveals how they spend their money. See where you rank.


Would it surprise you that the world's prototype luxury client is French? And that the affluent worldwide, led by the British still looking for an empire, would rather eat out and travel than just about anything else? Still, it may come as a shock that Americans are not first among equals when it comes to wine, cosmetic surgery or sports cars. And, despite idiosyncrasies, always remember, regardless of country, the rich are more like the rich than anybody else.

The just-released Global Luxury Market: Exploring the Mindset of Luxury Consumers gives a snapshot of what the luxury consumer buys, collects and values when spending the family fortune. Interviewers asked the rich in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, China and Japan what they like to buy and how much they value qualities like workmanship, quality and service. (Americans came out on top here). And who twins the two least-likely activities? The Germans: tops in internet use and in love of culture/arts and entertaining.

Each country's culture is present in the answers. The Italians buy the most fur coats (Americans second and they tie for cell phone use), the Chinese prefer collectible brands, antiques, jewelry and wine and hardly anybody has an airplane to call their own. (See chart below.) The Japanese, hit by yen yang, were the least forthcoming, taking a "don't ask me how much I spend" perspective, said Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing in her survey for the Conference Board, a marketing think-tank for businesses. The survey is designed so businesses can look for the niche in rich.

When it comes to defining the ultimate question, this ephemeral "luxury" way of life, here is the "42" (key to the universe): Spend money on special experiences, pamper the body, the personality and loved ones, and buy luxury on sale.

 

 

Category

U.S.

U.K.

Germany

Italy

France

China

Japan

*

Minimum income

$120,000

£60,000

($120k)

 â‚¬80,000

($110k)

€70,000

($95k)

€80,000

($110k)

Â¥40,000

$5,200)

Â¥10,000,000

($84k)

E

Dining

75%

84%

63%

79%

79%

70%

61%

E

Travel (Experiential)

70%

82%

65%

72%

71%

69%

62%

E

Entertainment

48%

60%

65%

61%

54%

56%

32%

E

Spa, beauty, cosmetic surgery

34%

33%

29%

41%

19%

27%

26%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P

Clothes, apparel

60%

75%

58%

69%

66%

62%

41%

P

Beauty products, fragrance

40%

61%

58%

59%

72%

62%

34%

P

Wine and spirits (Purchase)

39%

65%

45%

49%

60%

38%

23%

P

No personal luxuries

16%

6%

13%

4%

4%

6%

21%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O

Collection antiques, rare items

43%

23%

30%

32%

24%

45%

16%

O

Collection fine jewelry, watches

30%

27%

17%

22%

19%

33%

8%

O

Sports car

21%

28%

21%

27%

12%

39%

13%

O

Fine wines, spirits collection

20%

21%

20%

23%

25%

18%

43%

O

Vacation, second home

17%

20%

20%

53%

38%

8%

6%

O

Vacation time-share or fraction

17%

6%

2%

10%

4%

14%

4%

O

Fur coats, wraps

16%

6%

5%

26%

10%

4%

3%

O

Boat, yacht, sailboat

15%

4%

6%

10%

6%

4%

8%

O

Plane

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L

Uses the Internet

88%

90%

91%

88%

90%

80%

80%

L

Uses cell phones

85%

81%

69%

85%

68%

75%

52%

L

Travel (Activity)

66%

76%

68%

77%

67%

67%

61%

L

Stocks and bonds investment

56%

34%

38%

45%

47%

47%

27%

L

Physical fitness/exercise

50%

39%

41%

34%

28%

43%

21%

L

Attends cultural/arts events

44%

47%

56%

52%

46%

36%

22%

L

Wine (Activity)

38%

59%

44%

34%

59%

23%

16%

L

Gourmet cooking/fine foods

32%

48%

33%

30%

60%

32%

26%

L

Original art, paintings, sculpture

31%

38%

32%

43%

39%

17%

10%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

E= EXPERIENTIAL LUXURY; P=PERSONAL LUXURY; O=LUXURIES OWNED; L=LIFESTYLE ACTIVITIES; H=HOME LUXURIES.

Source: The Global Luxury Market 2007, Unity Marketing, The Conference Board, www.conference-board.org. Approximately 250 people in each country were asked 45 questions online. Wealth by country was determined by using minimum 3 times the country's GDP; respondents were queried by sex, age, location.


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