For Wealthy, It's Cool to Be Cheap

Twin concerns drive new consumer psyche
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2008 10:43 AM CST
Macy's offered a 100% natural cotton reusable tote bag earlier this year to encourage conservation, but recent trends show that green consciousness is feeding a decrease in spending at retailers.   (Photo: Business Wire)
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(Newser) – Affluent Americans are folding up the Gucci sunglasses and trying green living's thriftier practices on for size, a response to environmental and economic concerns that's sure to dampen spending for the duration of the recession, the Wall Street Journal reports. "People aren't shopping to feel better," said one retail consultant. "They actually are not shopping to feel better."

A survey of wealthy consumers in October found that more than half of the respondents had shopped less frequently in the last year—and a former Barneys exec predicts things are going to get worse. A shifting consumer psychology means "it's no longer chic to be spending," indicating tough times ahead for a luxury market that's bound to be "the slowest to recover."