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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The top 10% of U.S. house­holds mea­sured by house­hold in­come will spend about $21.6 bln on hol­i­day gifts this year. That is more than 30% of the to­tal of $77.5 bln that Americans are ex­pected to spend this year.

The data come from the Survey of Af­flu­ence and Wealth pub­lished by Time and re­search firm YouGov. The survey sam­ples the 12.1 mln of U.S. house­holds with min­i­mum dis­cre­tionary an­nual in­come of $100,000 (de­fined as in­come after mort­gage and prop­erty taxes have been paid). Th­ese house­holds are fur­ther seg­mented as “Up­per Mid­dle Class” with house­hold in­come of $100,000 to $149,000 (5 mln house­holds); “Core Af­flu­ent” with house­hold in­come of $150,000 to $449,000 (5.9 mln house­holds); and the “Top One Per­cent” with house­hold in­comes of $450,000 or more (1.2 mln house­holds).

Up­per Mid­dle Class house­holds ex­pect to boost spend­ing by 32% com­pared with a year ago, and One Per­centers are look­ing at spend­ing 29% more. Only the Core Af­flu­ent house­holds ex­pect to spend less — about 10% less, ac­cord­ing to the survey. Spend­ing among the other 90% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to rise by 12%.

Among 90% of Amer­i­can house­holds the av­er­age house­hold spend this year will rise from $532 to $594. Among the top 10% of house­holds spend­ing will in­crease from $1,818 to $1,920.

“This is the first re­ally ro­bust hol­i­day sea­son since the dark days of the re­ces­sion. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to note that most Americans - es­pe­cially af­flu­ent Americans — still be­lieve we are in a re­ces­sion. They re­main con­cerned about the state of the Amer­i­can econ­omy and com­mu­nity. While most af­flu­ent fam­i­lies con­cede sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in their house­hold fi­nances, con­cerns re­main that the over­all econ­omy is un­sta­ble and that prob­lems of war, dis­ease and civil un­rest per­sist glob­ally,” YouGov’s vice-chair­man said.

The five most popular gifts this year are gift cards (64%), fash­ion (58%), books (38%), food/wine/spir­its (37%) and jew­ellery/watches 30%. Buy­ing a gift for one­self while shop­ping for oth­ers is also on the rise. A full 45% of the top ten per­centers are likely to buy a gift for them­selves this year, up from 42% a year ago and 36% in 2012.

When asked how they planned to shop, 45% said pri­mar­ily or ex­clu­sively on­line, while 24% said shop­ping would be split evenly be­tween brick-and-mor­tar and on­line stores. Some 35% ex­pect to shop pri­mar­ily or ex­clu­sively in phys­i­cal stores.

Pro­jected use of smart­phones as a per­sonal shop­ping as­sis­tant will rise by a third this year to 55% of shop­pers who will use their phones to com­pare prod­ucts.

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