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Elite Traveler Survey Reports: Spending Doesn’t End With The Private Jet

The “New Jet Set” – Owners of Private Jets – Out Spend the Average Affluent Household by As Much as 40-to-1; $248,000 Per Year on Jewelry

New York, NY – September 15, 2006 – The super rich have always been known to be different from the “average Joe,” but Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine, released this week a study which redefines the New Jet Set and reveals just how different they are by analyzing their spending habits. According to the study, conducted by Elite Traveler/Prince & Associates, traveling commercial first class no longer qualifies one for membership in the New Jet Set.

Today, with air travel becoming more taxing and first class cabins becoming less exclusive and filled with upgrades and discounts, the New Jet Set now sets its sight on private jet travel.

Elite Traveler’s New Jet Set study surveyed 661 private jet owners with an average income of $9.2 million and a net worth of $89.3 million. Most of those surveyed are self-made millionaires who still draw multi-million dollar salaries. The New Jet Set is a powerful, privileged group that makes up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, compared with affluent households with an average annual income of $75,000-$200,000 who make up 21 percent of the population. The study takes a look at their spending habits in 14 key luxury product and service categories. These high-net-worth households spent $248,000 on jewelry (compared with $5,710 by their affluent counterparts); $147,000 on watches alone in 2005 (compared to just $3,312 by the affluent household) and $117,000 on fashion and accessories ($9,347 for affluent households).*

The 14 key luxury categories, listed in order of highest expenditure per person annually in 2005 are:

Fine Art $1,746,000
Home Improvement $542,000
Yacht Rentals $404,000
Jewelry $248,000
Luxury cars $226,000
Events at Hotels/Resorts $224,000
Villa/Chalet Rentals $168,000
Hotels/Resorts $157,000
Watches $147,000
Cruises $138,000
Fashion & Accessories $117,000
Spas $107,000
Experiential Travel $98,000
Wine/Spirits $29,000

The New Jet Set is the first study of its kind that has reached out to such a significant number of high-net-worth individuals who own private jets, interviewing each participant meticulously about their spending habits. The very wealthy have always been a challenge to gain access to and categorizing their preferences is even harder, as their main commonality is their income and assets,” said Douglas Gollan, president and editor-in-chief of Elite Traveler.

Findings of The New Jet Set show that luxury brand companies must take an entirely different psychological approach when selling to the high-net-worth spender because they are a different breed from the general affluent consumer. They spend freely, and they spend frequently and extravagantly. They not only have the interest and the resources to purchase exclusive, expensive items, but their fame and wealth add a level of distinction to the luxury brands they are buying.

“Best customers such as private jet owners shouldhave the highest focus of any luxury marketer as this segment spends the most and is least affected by outside factors such as the economy,” said Greg Furman, founder and CEO of The Luxury Marketing Council.

Searching for different psychographic segments within the super rich which may determine spending habits, Elite Traveler’s The New Jet Set study unearthed three distinct consumer personalities: Trendsetters, Winners and Connoisseurs. The study profiles the spending behaviors of each type and offers a psychoanalytical explanation behind their spending; on which categories they spend the most; where they plan to spend more in 2006, and what triggers the spending.

September 2006