Millionaires Name Top Choices For Their Holiday Gift Wish List


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Top 5 Choices Vary by Age, Gender, And Level of Income or Net Worth

From among more than 16 possible choices, the wealthy selected clothing, gift certificates/money, and books/CDs/DVDs as the top three choices on their wish list for Christmas and Hanukah gifts in a recent survey of the wealthiest 10% of U. S. households.

Women favored gift certificates/money (81%), clothing (46%), and books/CDs/DVDs (33%). Their next two favorites were fine jewelry (29%) and home furnishings (19%). The priorities of men were a little different: gift certificates/money (59%), clothing (55%), books/CDs/DVDs (43%), sports equipment (27%), and home entertainment equipment (25%).

Gift certificates/money were mentioned most often by those with income under $200,000 (84%), income above $200,000 (56%), net worth of $1 to $6 million (70%), net worth above $6 million (53%), ages under 50 (65%), ages 50 to 59 (69%), and over 60 (75%).

Clothing was the second most frequently mentioned gift among all groups (ranging from 46% to 57%). Books/CDs, and DVDs were the third most popular gift, being named by 33% to 50% of all groups).

Rounding out the top five choices for these groups were fine jewelry for those with income under $200,000, those with a net worth of $6 million or more, and those in the 50 to 59 age bracket. Collectibles (antiques, wine, art, etc. ) were named by those with income under $200,000, income over $200,000, net worth of $1 to $6 million, and those under 50 and those over 60.

Also in the top five choices were home entertainment equipment (for those with income over $200,000, net worth of $1 to $6 million, and under 50) and sports equipment (for those with net worth above $6 million and the 50 to 59 age group). Photography equipment was among the top five choices for those 60 and over.

These results were obtained from the recently completed Fall 2005 “Affluent Market Tracking Study #8” by The American Affluence Research Center. A continuing series of twice-yearly surveys, these studies track the 12- month economic outlook and spending plans of the wealthiest 10% of Americans, the 11 million households representing about half of all consumer income and spending and a third of the total US economy. These are the consumers who have helped the more upscale retailers to out perform others in recent years.

The survey participants were asked to choose their first, second, and third choices of gifts they would like to receive from a list of 15 possible gifts. They were also given the opportunity to name something not listed. The combined total mentions were used to identify the favored gift items shown above.

Highlights of the national survey of 448 men and women in the wealthiest 10% of U. S. households can be found on the AARC website, The survey participants have an average income of $308,000 and an average net worth of $2.7 million. The survey has a 5% margin of error at the 95% confidence level.

Ron Kurtz is a principal of The American Affluence Research Center and The Management Resource Group. Both companies provide marketing research and strategic planning services to prominent clients in the travel and hospitality industries, especially those targeting the affluent market.

Prior to founding MRG in 1989, Ron’s experience included over 20 years in senior management positions in the airline, hotel, and tour business. As the founding President of Sea Goddess Cruises, he created the product category of small deluxe ships for the very affluent. He also served as the chief marketing officer of four cruise lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line and Windstar Cruises.

Ron has been a key contributor to 6 start ups and 11 turnarounds of substantial businesses. He earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.

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