Affluent Consumer Tracking Study (ACTS) — Product & Services Track



Track Trends in the World’s Largest Market for Luxury

The ACTS Product & Services Track study is a semi-customized report about the what products and brands USA luxury consumers are buying and how much they spend on luxuries. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, market research is not an option; it is a necessity.

The U.S. luxury market is the world’s largest, by far. Totaling an estimated €64.9 billion in 2014, is larger than the next four largest markets combined, according to Bain/Altagamma

Luxury marketers that want to win in the world’s largest luxury market must stay vigilant in tracking the shifts, turns, and changing preferences in their affluent consumer market. They need up-to-the-minute data, as well as a historical perspective, to anticipate the next major luxury business opportunity or branding challenge.

Unity Marketing’s Affluent Consumer Tracking Study Product & Services Track (previously call the Luxury Consumer Tracking Service) is designed for marketers who need to understand the mindset, purchase behavior and psychology of the affluent consumer segment.  It is fielded in early fourth quarter to measure the past three-month purchases of luxury goods and services and predict future purchasing and spending behavior through the end of the year and into the new year.  This survey is followed by the ACTS Shopper Track study in the spring during the second quarter.

Launched in January 2004, Unity Marketing has continuously measured the pulse of the affluent consumers in a longitudinal survey of 1,250+ affluent consumer households. Twice a year ACTS reports what luxuries they bought during the past quarter, how much they spent, where they bought, the luxury brands they became aware of and used, and how they felt about their current and prospective financial status.

Unity Marketing’s LCI gives marketers a forward-looking indicator about direction of the economy

Based upon the results of the survey, Unity Marketing also publishes a Luxury Consumption Index (LCI) which tracks how luxury consumers feel about their finanicial status.  It helps marketers anticipate consumers spending in the next six months.  As a marketer, you look for competitive advantage. What you really need is a look over the horizon, a way to predict economic ups and downs before they occur and before your competition knows to react.

That view is available in Unity Marketing’s Luxury Consumption Index, a measure of attitudes, purchases and spending of the affluent consumer — the economy’s heavy lifter segment which accounts for only 20 percent of households, but over 40 percent of spending.  This index has proven predictive of larger events in the economy as a whole, in addition to serving as a finger on the pulse of the luxury market. For example:

  • LCI predicted the recession one-to-two quarters before the ‘pain’ was felt by marketers — The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared, approximately a year after the event, that the most recent economic recession began in December, 2007. The LCI anticipated the beginning of this slump as it turned sharply downward starting in the 2Q2007 through 4Q2007. The LCI gave marketers advance warning of the coming shift in consumer sentiment.
  • LCI tracked the recovery ahead of the economic experts — The LCI indicated that the economy hit its lowest point between the fourth quarter 2008 and first quarter 2009, with a slow recovery through 2009 and into early 2010. This rise anticipated the NBER declaration of the recession’s end announced in September 2010. Followers of the LCI would have had advanced noticed of the upturn and been ready to act.

Click here to download a white paper on the predictive power of the LCI.

Why is the LCI such a strong predictor of the economy’s trajectory?

The LCI measures consumer confidence among just the affluent, unlike other consumer confidence indices that look at consumers across all income levels. The affluent count more than lower-income Americans when measuring their spending power, since they are the economy’s ‘heavy lifters.’ They also are movers and shakers in business, holding the highest paid positions in business. They read the Wall Street Journal and other business publications every day, watch the stock market ups and downs, make hiring and firing and budgetary decisions in their businesses. They are the most informed consumers, who know when to hold, when to fold and when to spend.

Track future shifts in the luxury market before they actually impact your business

Luxury tracking gives luxury marketers the ability to track the ups and downs in the market in real-time and discover how their target market feels about their luxury spending over the next three months. In addition to the two biannual tracking studies, marketers also receive a year-end summary of luxury consumers. purchases and spending on four categories of the luxury market, including home luxuries, personal luxuries, automobiles and experiential luxuries.

The Affluent Consumer Tracking Study is a cost-effective way for consumer marketers to monitor their brand awareness and usage among their target market. With this data, they can hold their advertising agencies accountable for producing results among the affluent target market.

ACTS gives marketers the data they need to predict changing patterns of affluent shopping consumer behavior before it occurs, so they are ready with new products and marketing initiatives before the changes and shifts in consumer behavior start to gain traction.

It is an essential research resource to give marketers insight and understanding about the luxury market from one of the nation’s foremost experts on the mindset of the luxury consumer, Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing.

ACTS covers purchases including the lower-income HENRYs consumers to the Ultra-affluent top 2 percent

The ACTS survey tracks and analyzes two distinct segments in the luxury consumer market representing the top 20 percent of U.S. households by income — that represents about 25 million households at the top of the income range. Throughout 2014 and 2015 the average consumer surveyed had a household income between $250,000 to about $300,000.

  • HENRY (high-earners-not-rich-yet), household incomes of $100,000-$249,999, the mass-affluent, that make up 90 percent of the total affluent market. There are some 8 or HENRY households for every one ultra-affluent household.
  • Ultra-Affluents, the income segment making $250,000 and above, that represent the highest spending segment in all categories of luxury, and who make up the top 2-3% of U.S. households, or 3.3 million households.

ACTS oversamples Ultra-affluent consumers

In order to give marketers a closer look at the greater purchasing behavior of the top 2-3% of the affluent consumer market, we oversample the Ultra-affluents in each luxury tracking survey. Whereas naturally the ultra-affluents account for only 10 percent of the affluent market, we weight the sample so that one-third (33 percent) of the sample is made up of Ultra-affluents and the remaining 66 percent are the lower-income, lower-spending HENRY consumers.

Syndicated study is customized to add marketers’ brands and key competitors’ brands in the survey

Twice a year subscribers receive an analysis report about purchases and shopping behavior of the affluents. For certain categories luxury brand purchase and usage is also tracked. The ACTS Product/Services Track examines in detail purchases in 21 different luxury categories and the ACTS Shopper Track studies affluents’ shopping behavior including the stores where they shop and what they buy.  Each ACTS survey is customized to meet the specific needs of each subscriber, adding their key brands and 5-6 competitor brands. Categories included in the ACTS Product/Services tracking survey include:

Home Luxuries

  • Tabletop, Dinnerware, Flatware, Servingware (including vases, bowls, candle holders, picture frames and/or other tabletop decorative accents)
  • Art, Sculpture, Wall Decor, and Antiques (including wall decor, custom framing, sculpture, framed art, antiques, figurines, sculpture and collectibles, art glass, etc.)
  • Home Electronics (such as home computers, televisions, home entertainment centers) but NOT Personal Electronics
  • Furniture, Lamps and Lighting, Floor Coverings, or Rugs
  • Outdoor, Lawn, Patio and Garden Products (such as lawn furniture, patio accessories, plants, grills, lawn equipment, etc.)
  • Kitchenware, Cookware, and Housewares (including luxury pots and pans, cooking utensils, cutlery or knives, small appliances, and housewares accessories)
  • Major Home Appliances, Bath Fixtures, Window Coverings and/or Building Products (such as luxury kitchen appliances, laundry appliances, cabinets, bathtubs, window blinds, etc.)
  • Household Linens, Fabrics, and Soft Goods (including bed linens, bath linens, table linens, curtains, drapes, pillows, blankets, throws and other soft goods.)
  • Mattress and Foundation/Box Spring and/or Sleep Systems

Personal Luxuries

  • Jewelry, including Fashion Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Automobiles
  • Clothes and Apparel (such as dresses, suits, shirts, pants, etc.)
  • Fashion Accessories (such as handbags, wallets, suitcases, shoes, sunglasses, etc.)
  • Beauty Products, Cosmetics, Fragrance and/or Skin Care regimes
  • Wine, Liquor & Spirits
  • Personal Electronics

Luxury Experiences

  • Travel (including hotels, luxury transportation, cruises, resorts, etc. for personal travel)
  • Dining (including restaurants)
  • Salon or Spa Treatments, such as hair, nails, massage, facials, etc.
  • Doctor-provided Cosmetic or Beauty Procedures, such as injectibles, laser, lasik surgery, etc.

Special Added-Value Feature: With every survey wave,  new topics are researched

In addition to the regular battery of ACTS survey questions, every wave includes a study of different topics of special interest to luxury marketers. Some recent special investigations are published as Trend Reports, such as:

  • Travel plans and projections for 2015
  • Luxury consumers and their Internet shopping
  • Luxury consumers lifestyle attitudes and motivations

Subscribers help set the agenda for the special topics for research.

What Subscribers Get:

  • Affluent Consumer Tracking Report Products & Services: A detailed analysis report reports on the trends in what high-end or luxury products and services were bought, where they were purchased and how much spent. In addition, each survey wave includes brand preferences, based upon needs of the subscribing clients, and affluent consumer confidence measures. Each subscriber will have their brands and up to five or six key competitor brands included in the survey.
  • Luxury Report USA. Subscribers get a copy of the annual Luxury Report USA, for the year preceding subscription and the year ending subscription.
  • Luxury Trend Report:  Covering the findings from the special investigation included in the most recent ACTS survey.
  • LCI Webinar — After each ACTS survey Unity Marketing’s president Pam Danziger conducts an hour-long webinar annoucing the LCI results from the previous quarter, predictions for the upcoming sales period and summary of major findings from the latest Affluent Consumer Tracking Survey
  • Access to Unity Marketing’s affluent consumer survey panel — Subscribers can access this affluent consumer survey panel for customized omnibuss market research projects. Costs to be calculated separately.


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