The rich are, indeed, different from you and me: They have more money.
And apparently they are spending it, according to media reports indicating that the luxury segment is rebounding from the Great Recession.
For example, earlier this year real estate blog The KCM Blog made a bold proclamation: “The Luxury Market Is Not Coming Back … IT IS BACK!” The blog cited a National Association of Realtors' existing-home sales report showing that sales of homes over a million dollars were up 6.1%.
Luxury housing is not the only segment on the rise. MediaPost Communications, a publishing and content company, reported in October that because of U.S. shoppers and the surge of demand in China, “the global luxury market is now projected to jump 10% in 2010, almost reaching the peak levels achieved in 2007.”
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The slumping economy was supposed to turn home buyers into budget-minded savers—thrift was in, profligacy was out. In some ways, Americans certainly have pulled back on spending, but in other ways, we remain an aspirational country, where people desire nice things.
Product manufacturers obviously share this belief. In the past year, the market has seen some fantastic luxury products that speak to the notion that there is a demand—however small—for these items.
The attached slide show features 10 mid-priced-to-luxury items that represent just a fraction of the wonderful products hitting the market. You may not be building homes where any of these would fit, but there is no harm in looking.
(If you're interested in less luxurious options, don't despair: We will be publishing a roundup of the best affordable products before year-end as well.)