Economy

Survey Says Millionaires Cut Spending, Postpone Big-Ticket Purchases

wealthy couple

A majority of American millionaires say they plan to spend less this summer than in years past, according to a new Second Quarter CNBC Millionaire Survey.

The poll, which questioned 750 people with assets of $1 million or more, revealed while wealthy Americans have seen little impact from the pandemic on their incomes and balance sheets, they still expect to cut back on spending.

More than a quarter of the millionaires surveyed plan to put purchases of big-ticket items such as real estate, vehicles and vacations, on hold for a year or more, the survey said.

“The wealthy are still feeling cautious,” George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, the Chicago-based consulting and research firm that conducted the survey, told CNBC. “They learned from the last crisis that maybe they need more of a cushion than they thought. They just don’t want to make a major purchase decision right now.”

It appears that wealthy Americans have been insulated from the economic damage of COVID-19, the survey found. Nearly 75 percent of those interviewed said their assets and income will be unchanged or higher by year’s end.

Still, their caution over spending could have something to do with their overall view of the U.S. economy, researchers found.

About 50 percent of the millionaires surveyed said they think the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic will last longer than the Great Recession of 2008-09. And those who were considering any major purchases, such as real estate or vehicles, may just be waiting for prices to fall even more, the report said.

“They may be opportunistic and saying ‘why buy now if prices for these big purchases could fall even more,’ ” Walper said.

Recent research by PYMNTS found consumers as a whole are spending less amid the pandemic. While they are buying some of the same items they had been buying, they are doing so by digital means rather than in store, and their total spending has declined.

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