The Rich Plan to Spend More This Holiday Season

holiday shopping
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The top 10% of U.S. households measured by household income will spend about $21.6 billion on holiday gifts this year. That is more than 30% of the total of $77.5 billion 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 million 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 million households); “Core Affluent” with household income of $150,000 to $449,000 (5.9 million households); and the “Top One Percent” with household incomes of $450,000 or more (1.2 million 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.

YouGov’s vice-chairman said:

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.

The five most popular gifts this year are gift cards (64%), fashion (58%), books (38%), food/wine/spirits (37%) and jewelry/watches 30%. Buying a gift for oneself while shopping for others is also on the rise. A full 45% of the top 10 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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