Value said key for holiday luxury shoppers

Shoppers are gearing up for more luxury purchases during the next several months, according to a survey by Saks Fifth Avenue, although the Christmas holiday season is likely to be slower than last year.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the survey said they are planning to spend the same or more on luxury goods compared with the previous three months. That's an increase from the survey published this summer. Still, it's notably lower than the 68% of respondents who said in September of last year, when the luxury sector was still riding the post-pandemic boom, that they planned to maintain or increase their spending on high-end items.

The survey points to a Christmas season in which business will be more brisk than it has been in recent months but not as robust as it was from 2020 to 2022.

"It's going to be pretty modest but probably better than where the trends of the business have been over the past six months," Marc Metrick, chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue's online operations, said in an interview.

This season, luxury shoppers are "looking for value," Metrick said. Three-quarters of respondents in the survey said they will wait "as long as needed" for a luxury item they like to be on sale. "That's probably not too different than five years ago, but it's certainly different than about two years ago," Metrick said.

Some luxury items rarely go on sale since high-end companies want to keep their brands' cachet elevated, Metrick added. And Saks will be careful about promotions online. "Our inventories are in very good shape," he said.

Saks's survey is based on 1,836 U.S.-based respondents over 18 years old and was conducted from July 20 to 24.