New Portrait of Affluent Consumer Emerges From American Express Platinum Luxury Survey

Experiences - Not Material Goods - Matter Most to Affluent



Jul 21, 2004, 01:00 ET from American Express

    NEW YORK, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's affluent consumers have a fresh
 perspective on the good life, according to the American Express Platinum
 Luxury Survey, a new study of the affluent consumer, conducted on the 20th
 anniversary of the Platinum Card(R) from American Express.
     According to the survey, more than half of affluent consumers (59%)
 receive the greatest personal satisfaction from experiences, such as fine
 dining, travel, entertainment, cultural/arts events and sporting events.  On
 average affluent consumers spent $10,060 on these luxuries over the past 12
 months.  Only 21% of those surveyed say they get the greatest satisfaction
 from personal luxuries, such as automobiles, fashion and jewelry and on
 average they spent $14,270 on personal luxuries over the past 12 months. Only
 20% enjoy home luxuries most, such as furniture, kitchenware, and linens and
 bedding and on average respondents spent $12,300 on home luxuries over the
 past 12 months.
     "In the real world, affluent consumers aren't relaxing poolside or eating
 bonbons," said Peggy Maher, senior vice president and general manager,
 Consumer Charge Card, American Express  "They're working long hours, juggling
 personal and professional lives, and are constantly pressed for time.  For
 instance, our affluent Cardmembers are looking to ease their busy, often
 hectic, lives with experiences that will make them feel special, whether it be
 a massage, a night out with fine dining and entertainment, or taking a
 luxurious vacation abroad."
     "Twenty years ago the affluent lifestyle was focused on having and
 obtaining more material things, but the 'new' luxury paradigm finds affluent
 consumers pursuing new life experiences," said Pam Danziger, author of the
 book, Why People Buy Things They Don't Need, and President of Unity Marketing,
 which conducted the American Express Platinum Luxury Survey.  "Today, affluent
 consumers are far more interested in living well and smartly rather than
 'keeping up with the Joneses'."
 
     Fine Dining and Luxury Travel Top List of Experiences
     Those survey respondents who said they value experiences most spent an
 average of $26,401 on experiential luxury services in the past 12 months, more
 than double that of all survey respondents.  The most popular experiences are
 fine dining and luxury travel.
     The majority of these affluent consumers (79%) said fine dining was the
 number one experience they enjoyed over the last 12 months.  Over three-
 fourths (76%) enjoyed fine dining once a month or more at a luxury restaurant
 and spent on average $5,990 on dining in the past year.  However, food isn't
 everything when making fine dining decisions: 37% rate the reputation of the
 chef or restaurant as the top reason to choose a restaurant, 33% select a
 restaurant based on service or getting a good table, and 31% said outstanding
 restaurant reviews were the most influential factor.
     These affluent consumers also travel often and in style: more than two-
 thirds (68%) took an average of six personal trips in the past year and spent
 $12,650 on average on personal travel.  And don't expect these consumers to be
 logging into the office email and working on their vacations.  Relaxation is a
 top priority, with 47% citing relaxation and freedom from stress as the top
 reasons for travel.  Nearly all (90%) agreed that traveling was a desirable
 way to "break out of the day-to-day routine."
     When the affluent travel, the majority (56%) said creating memorable
 experiences was the most important vacation criteria.  Almost half (45%)
 received help over the past year creating those memorable moments with the use
 of a travel agent, personal concierge or other personal assistant.  This
 allowed them to take advantage of special VIP programs, gain insider access to
 special accommodations or obtain amenities available only on an exclusive
 basis.  Of those who took advantage of such VIP services, 70% said these
 special programs greatly enhanced or somewhat enhanced their travel
 experiences.
     One fact to count on -- these affluent consumers plan to enjoy more
 experiences in the future.  Eighty-seven percent said they expect to spend the
 same or more on fine dining in the next year and 81% said they expect to spend
 the same or more on personal travel.
 
     About American Express
     This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Platinum Card from American
 Express, the first of its kind in the market, offering Card members access to
 exceptional travel benefits and services.  When American Express launched the
 Platinum Card in 1984, the company's reputation for providing outstanding
 service to frequent travelers and Card members was already well established.
 Since the 1950s, American Express has been offering Card members high-quality
 products and services, including the Green and Gold Charge Cards and travel
 assistance and office facilities to travelers.  Today the Platinum Card
 continues to evolve with the changing luxury marketplace, making it one of the
 most desired cards in the market.
     American Express is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network
 services company founded in 1850.  It is world leader in charge and credit
 cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services,
 insurance and international banking.  For more information, visit
 http://www.americanexpress.com.
     The American Express Platinum Luxury Survey includes a quantitative survey
 among a random cross section of 870 affluent consumers in the U.S. with
 household incomes of $100,000 and above and who purchased or enjoyed either a
 home, personal or experience-based luxury-e.g., fine dining, luxury travel or
 entertainment-in the past 12 months.  The average household income of
 consumers surveyed was $175,000.  In addition, 491 of those respondents, who
 said they achieved the greatest satisfaction and happiness through
 experience-based luxuries, participated in an in-depth survey that explored
 experience-based luxury buying habits and attitudes.
 
 

SOURCE American Express
    NEW YORK, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's affluent consumers have a fresh
 perspective on the good life, according to the American Express Platinum
 Luxury Survey, a new study of the affluent consumer, conducted on the 20th
 anniversary of the Platinum Card(R) from American Express.
     According to the survey, more than half of affluent consumers (59%)
 receive the greatest personal satisfaction from experiences, such as fine
 dining, travel, entertainment, cultural/arts events and sporting events.  On
 average affluent consumers spent $10,060 on these luxuries over the past 12
 months.  Only 21% of those surveyed say they get the greatest satisfaction
 from personal luxuries, such as automobiles, fashion and jewelry and on
 average they spent $14,270 on personal luxuries over the past 12 months. Only
 20% enjoy home luxuries most, such as furniture, kitchenware, and linens and
 bedding and on average respondents spent $12,300 on home luxuries over the
 past 12 months.
     "In the real world, affluent consumers aren't relaxing poolside or eating
 bonbons," said Peggy Maher, senior vice president and general manager,
 Consumer Charge Card, American Express  "They're working long hours, juggling
 personal and professional lives, and are constantly pressed for time.  For
 instance, our affluent Cardmembers are looking to ease their busy, often
 hectic, lives with experiences that will make them feel special, whether it be
 a massage, a night out with fine dining and entertainment, or taking a
 luxurious vacation abroad."
     "Twenty years ago the affluent lifestyle was focused on having and
 obtaining more material things, but the 'new' luxury paradigm finds affluent
 consumers pursuing new life experiences," said Pam Danziger, author of the
 book, Why People Buy Things They Don't Need, and President of Unity Marketing,
 which conducted the American Express Platinum Luxury Survey.  "Today, affluent
 consumers are far more interested in living well and smartly rather than
 'keeping up with the Joneses'."
 
     Fine Dining and Luxury Travel Top List of Experiences
     Those survey respondents who said they value experiences most spent an
 average of $26,401 on experiential luxury services in the past 12 months, more
 than double that of all survey respondents.  The most popular experiences are
 fine dining and luxury travel.
     The majority of these affluent consumers (79%) said fine dining was the
 number one experience they enjoyed over the last 12 months.  Over three-
 fourths (76%) enjoyed fine dining once a month or more at a luxury restaurant
 and spent on average $5,990 on dining in the past year.  However, food isn't
 everything when making fine dining decisions: 37% rate the reputation of the
 chef or restaurant as the top reason to choose a restaurant, 33% select a
 restaurant based on service or getting a good table, and 31% said outstanding
 restaurant reviews were the most influential factor.
     These affluent consumers also travel often and in style: more than two-
 thirds (68%) took an average of six personal trips in the past year and spent
 $12,650 on average on personal travel.  And don't expect these consumers to be
 logging into the office email and working on their vacations.  Relaxation is a
 top priority, with 47% citing relaxation and freedom from stress as the top
 reasons for travel.  Nearly all (90%) agreed that traveling was a desirable
 way to "break out of the day-to-day routine."
     When the affluent travel, the majority (56%) said creating memorable
 experiences was the most important vacation criteria.  Almost half (45%)
 received help over the past year creating those memorable moments with the use
 of a travel agent, personal concierge or other personal assistant.  This
 allowed them to take advantage of special VIP programs, gain insider access to
 special accommodations or obtain amenities available only on an exclusive
 basis.  Of those who took advantage of such VIP services, 70% said these
 special programs greatly enhanced or somewhat enhanced their travel
 experiences.
     One fact to count on -- these affluent consumers plan to enjoy more
 experiences in the future.  Eighty-seven percent said they expect to spend the
 same or more on fine dining in the next year and 81% said they expect to spend
 the same or more on personal travel.
 
     About American Express
     This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Platinum Card from American
 Express, the first of its kind in the market, offering Card members access to
 exceptional travel benefits and services.  When American Express launched the
 Platinum Card in 1984, the company's reputation for providing outstanding
 service to frequent travelers and Card members was already well established.
 Since the 1950s, American Express has been offering Card members high-quality
 products and services, including the Green and Gold Charge Cards and travel
 assistance and office facilities to travelers.  Today the Platinum Card
 continues to evolve with the changing luxury marketplace, making it one of the
 most desired cards in the market.
     American Express is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network
 services company founded in 1850.  It is world leader in charge and credit
 cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services,
 insurance and international banking.  For more information, visit
 http://www.americanexpress.com.
     The American Express Platinum Luxury Survey includes a quantitative survey
 among a random cross section of 870 affluent consumers in the U.S. with
 household incomes of $100,000 and above and who purchased or enjoyed either a
 home, personal or experience-based luxury-e.g., fine dining, luxury travel or
 entertainment-in the past 12 months.  The average household income of
 consumers surveyed was $175,000.  In addition, 491 of those respondents, who
 said they achieved the greatest satisfaction and happiness through
 experience-based luxuries, participated in an in-depth survey that explored
 experience-based luxury buying habits and attitudes.
 
 SOURCE  American Express