American Consumers Still Splurging on Small Luxuries
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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 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.