Study: Consumers ready to splurge on luxury items

New York -- Survey results released Tuesday by Accenture found that half of U.S. consumers are likely to make a small luxury purchase in the next six months, including 53% who are likely to purchase specialty food or drinks, 48% to purchase luxury clothing and 48% to purchase luxury personal care products.

According to the Accenture Luxury Shopping Survey, which polled more than 2,000 U.S. adult consumers, splurging on a small luxury is the number one reason consumers buy specialty food or drinks, selected by 53% of those who expect to make these purchases in the coming months.  

Similarly, high-low fashion is the top reason shoppers shop luxury apparel. More than half (57%) of those who intend to purchase luxury apparel will mix a few luxury items into a wardrobe of more affordable clothing.

“As consumers show an increasing willingness to splurge on luxury, retailers and brands can build loyalty by offering a strategic selection of smaller-ticket luxury items to complement their more significant products,” said Tom Jacobson, managing director of the Accenture Pricing & Profit Optimization practice.  

In each of the three small-product categories polled, consumers indicated a strong preference for brick-and-mortar stores when shopping for luxury goods:

  • On average, 36% prefer to shop in a physical store, while 19% prefer to shop online.  
  • Among those likely to purchase luxury food and drink, 50% prefer shopping at specialty grocery stores and 40% like shopping at mass retailers, while only 19% prefer to shop at online-only retailers.
  • The top reason for shopping in physical stores is to see all the choices in person (38%). Nearly a third (30%) of shoppers in this category prefer online retailers to get the best price and one-quarter (25%) value the convenience of online shopping.
  • For those who are likely to make a luxury apparel purchase, more than half (58%) picked department stores as their top choice, compared to only 29% who prefer a department store’s website and 36% who prefer online-only retailers.
  • The top reason given for choosing the physical store is the ability to touch and feel the products, selected by 49%, whereas online retailers are preferred for finding the best deal (37%).
  • Physical stores beat online shopping two-to-one for luxury personal care products (including hair care, skin care and makeup): 44% of shoppers in this category prefer drug stores and 40% prefer department stores, compared with 22% who prefer online-only retailers.

The study also found that showrooming, or viewing a product in a store and then going online to make the purchase, plays an important role in luxury purchases.  In the past six months, one in five consumers visited a store to experienc