American Consumers Still Splurging on Small Luxuries

American Consumers Still Splurging on Small Luxuries
Image: Pixabay

High-end lipstick and gourmet coffee might not top everyone's list of "needs," but for some, these small luxuries are simply untouchable, according to exclusive consumer research in STORES Magazine's February cover story.

The survey, conducted by BIGinsight.com examines products and services that consumers feel are "untouchable" and "expendable" and tracks the past five years of this sentiment surrounding their purchase.

The survey found that items and services such as Internet, mobile/cell phone service, cable TV, hair cut/color and discount shopping for apparel have in recent years maintained staying power, despite heightened economic uncertainty.

On the other hand, as consumers increasingly look for ways to cut back, they are more inclined to give up high-end jewelry, maid services, club/social memberships and magazine subscriptions.

On average, 53.9 percent of adults said they cut back on some items and services in 2012, down from more than three-quarters (76.4%) who said they'd done so in 2011.

Additionally, as a possible sign that consumers have adjusted to budgetary constraints, almost every category saw a year-over-year decrease in the number of people who plan to cut back on items and services including a daily cup of gourmet coffee, new jeans, casual sit-down restaurants, department store shopping and new shoes.

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

Have you ever noticed that your bank account somehow had 'extra' money in it even though you knew for a fact it wasn't yours? If so, you are not alone. It happens more often than you would think. All it takes is for a bank teller to type in one wrong number at the time a deposit is being made.

Advances in airbag technology have made 10 and two quite dangerous, according to the American Driver and Traffic Safety Association. The old position puts the driver's fingers, hands and arms in the way of the airbag, which deploys at speeds of nearly 250 mph.

Have you ever considered using toothpaste on your car to take out a few of those minor scratches? If the scratch hasn't yet penetrated the clearcoat, there is a good chance that you can fix the problem with a little bit of elbow grease and whitening toothpaste.

Tell all of your friends and family that you have some type of consumer complaint. We bet that at least half of them will tell you to contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for some kind of resolution. But can the BBB really help consumers? It really isn't what you think it is.