2012 was another strong year for the US luxury goods market and the US affluent consumer, with sales growth robust, but slower than in the 2010 and 2011 rebound years.
Luxury goods are products and services that are not considered essential and are associated with affluence. The concept of luxury has been present in various forms since the beginning of civilization.
Its role was just as important in ancient western and eastern empires as it is in modern societies. With the clear differences between social classes in earlier civilizations, the consumption of luxury was limited to the elite classes.
Luxury fine wine, Champagne and spirits led the field with designer apparel also enjoying double-digit growth.
The US is still home to the most dynamic and diverse luxury goods market in the world, with a proliferation of new designers, labels and competitive activity. Brand owners will seek more control over their retail environment, expanding boutique outlet presence and more tightly regulating the conditions of the their wholesale partnerships to preserve and defend brand identity.
Accessible and aspirational brands are still a keystone of the United States luxury goods market, driving growth in luxury spirits, fragrances and important areas of designer apparel and accessories.
Coach, Tumi and Michael Kors are some of the well-publicised success stories for the US consumer in terms of value growth and outlet expansion, while luxury spirit brands (including Patrón tequila, Belvedere vodka and many others) are establishing leading positions within the mass segment.
While US luxury goods will not keep pace with the double-digit growth enjoyed post-recession, the prospects for the market are still bright. Incomes in the US will rise and unemployment eventually fall, opening up new opportunities for market development. An affluent, retiring baby boomer demographic will represent one key area of opportunity for US marketers.
For more information on the US luxury goods market, see the latest research: US Luxury Goods Market
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