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Americans Tired of Inflation Now Splurging on Luxury Items

Michael Gwyther-Jones via Flickr Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0
Michael Gwyther-Jones via Flickr Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the midst of rising costs in the Unites States, Americans are cutting back on everyday purchases while buying several big-ticket items, according to a Thursday report by the Wall Street Journal.

After a year of high inflation, consumers are exhausted from budgeting micro-decision they must make on any given day, according to economists. Last December, retail sales fell by 1.1. percent, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, as consumers were conflicted with rising interest rates and their financial futures. Despite this, many are deciding to splurge on trips, experiences, and designer products while cutting back on other everyday items.

In early January, a Morning Consult poll of 2,200 American adults conducted by the Wall Street Journal found that three in 10 individuals said that they purchased a luxury good in the past month, with more than a third spending over $100 on the purchase. According to economists, this is an attempt by consumers to reclaim agency over their finances, with some shoppers occasionally buying to remind themselves that they still have a well-off life.

Many shoppers have been overwhelmed with trying to squeeze out that many have given up and spent money on travel and other nonessential goods and services. According to banking experts at Wells Fargo and other commercial banks, the slowdown in economic growth and high inflation are fueling decision-making by shoppers even though many of their choices are not budget-friendly.

While prices for items like gas have dropped in recent months, grocery prices remain high, with people making trade-offs as they go down the supermarket aisles. Americans in expensive cities in New York and California have experienced high inflation the most, with many wearing old-hand-me-down clothing and saving money on essential items.

According to the Journal, in 2022, the luxury market had an explosive year despite the decline in overall retail sales, which was helped by middle-income consumers. Bain & Co. predicts the luxury market's consumer base will expand from about 400 million people last year to 500 million by 2023. Consumers are looking for luxury items at more affordable price points in the secondhand market, with used luxury sales up at 28 percent year-over-year in 2022, equal to 1.3 times the growth rate for new luxury goods.

Commercial bank officials are not surprised that luxury is increasing as people are spending more on essentials, with many believing that things will be ok in the future.

Related Story: With Financial Experts Waiting for Final Inflation Report, Many Expect Prices to Remain High

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