Survey: Luxury Department-Store Shopping by “Ultra-Affluents” Declining

       

       

STEVENS, Pa.–Shopping at upper-end department stores by consumers with incomes $250,000 and up has been trending downward, according to a quarterly survey by Unity Marketing.

The number of “ultra-affluents” (as Unity Marketing defines this income segment) shopping in this channel has fallen from 75 percent in the third quarter of 2010 to 70 percent in the first quarter of this year. While this is a small percentage change, it translates into “big drops across the market,” Unity Marketing said in a statement about the survey results. The research firm, which specializes in luxury markets, said nearly a third of these wealthiest Americans were not shopping at any luxury department stores in the first quarter.

The report did not say whether these consumers were shopping increasingly at less pricey channels or more on the Internet. Pam Danzinger, president of Unity Marketing, said, “If the downward trend among ultra-affluents continues, each of these stores may have to rethink their approach if they are to remain a compelling and attractive destination for the wealthy.”

Barney’s New York and Nordstrom ranked number one and number two, respectively, among favorite department stores for the ultra-affluents. This demographic constitutes 2 percent of U.S. households but accounts for most of the spending in the consumer economy, the company said.