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American Express Business Insights Global Spending Analysis Shows Luxury Fashion Boosted by Unexpected SourcesAverage Joes and Seniors Outpaced Fashionistas in Spend Growth During the First Half of 2011
NEW YORK,  September 14, 2011 -- 

American Express Business Insights today released a special report, 2011 Spend Sights Special Report: Global Luxury Fashion Spending, that shows average consumers are doing more this year to prop up luxury spending than traditional high-end shoppers. The report, which analyzes in-store and online spending at premium and discount luxury merchants across a range of consumer demographics, is based on actual, aggregated spending data from the first half of 2011 over the same period last year. The new research reveals several compelling trends in luxury fashion spending both domestically and abroad, including average seniors' growing penchant for flash sales and, at the other end of the demographic spectrum, the emerging luxury fixation of younger average consumers.

In the report, American Express Business Insights identified a group of "fashion enthusiasts" represented by the consumers that make up the top 5% of annual spend in apparel and accessories, and compared the gender and age patterns of this group's spend against all other "average" luxury fashion consumers in the US, the UK, France, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

Key findings from the American Express Business Insights 2011 Spend Sights Special Report: Global Luxury Fashion Spending report include:

  • Average Consumers Playing Catch-up to Enthusiasts -- Compared to last year, average consumers are leading spend in luxury fashion over the traditional enthusiast across the US, Europe and Asia. In fact, non-enthusiast men in the US spent 156% more on premium luxury fashion in 1H 2011 over last year, followed by women at 125%, whereas male enthusiasts spent 11% less on premium luxury, and their female counterparts had no change for the same period. Overseas, enthusiasts decreased spend on overall luxury fashion in the UK by 14%; in France by 10%; in Japan by 22%; in Australia by 14%; and in Hong Kong by 1%. In contrast, their average consumer counterparts increased luxury fashion spend by 27%; 13%; 26%; 1% and 3%, respectively.
  • Seniors Discover Value in Flash Sales -- As the discount and flash sale retail phenomenon continues to gain traction, average, non-enthusiast US seniors seem more eager than ever to explore online luxury bargain hunting. This group increased spend by 124% on discount and flash sale websites during the first half of 2011 over the same period last year, demonstrating that online luxury discount spending is not reserved just for early-adopting youth.
  • Average Gen Y and Gen X Make Premium Luxury Play -- In perhaps a surprising twist in a struggling economy, the data showed non-enthusiast Gen Y and Gen X consumers taking advantage of the opportunity for luxury brand fashion purchases. In the most high-end, or premium, luxury fashion category, average Gen Y consumers increased spend by 100% during 1H 2011, and Gen X increased by 142% during the same period, while Gen Y and Gen X fashion enthusiasts both decreased spend in premium luxury fashion.

"Luxury fashion has long relied upon its industry enthusiasts to drive spending. However, we're seeing not only a slowdown in spending by this group, but a shift to value purchases such as those found on a growing number of flash sale and discount websites," said Ed Jay, Senior Vice President at American Express Business Insights. "In the meantime, the average consumer is now taking advantage of luxury retailers looking to woo consumers to their stores."

The data above and many more insights are included in the new American Express Business Insights 2011 Spend Sights Special Report: Global Luxury Fashion Spending report, available to media for free download at

About American Express Business Insights
As part of the Global Merchant Services organization within American Express Company, American Express Business Insights provides in-depth, actionable insights into consumer and business spending at the business, industry and geographic levels, leveraging proprietary transaction data from the American Express network of approximately 90 million cards in force across over 125 markets.

American Express Business Insights produces in-depth quarterly reports for the Airline, Car Rental, Cruise, Lodging, Restaurant, Entertainment and various Luxury Retail categories, as well as sector-specific geographic reports. These full-length Industry IQ reports are available for purchase at

About the 2011 Spend Sights Special Report from American Express Business Insights
The data shown in the 2011 Spend Sights Special Report: Global Luxury Fashion Spending report are derived from transactions on the American Express payment network projected to reflect the general population in the consumer segments shown. The data do not represent American Express's own performance in the industry segments shown and do not represent the spending behavior of American Express Cardmembers overall or in any particular cardmember segment.