Wealthy shoppers are driving demand for premium products, from $10 toothpastes to $90 creams, leading retailers and consumer product companies to unleash a slew of designer items. Companies are zeroing in on consumers with more money to spare, creating a challenge for those with less. Walmart, for instance, features high-end creams at select stores, while Ketchup maker Heinz created a line of chef-inspired condiments called Heinz 57, including a 11.25-ounce container of infused honey with black truffle costing roughly $7. Other companies like Chipolte Mexican Grill have emphasised that they are not targeting discount-loving shoppers.
The epidemic has widened the divide between rich and poor. Only 20.7% of Americans live in households with a yearly salary of more than $156,000. However, they spent about 38.3% of the total in 2021 and 41.7% of the total in 2018, excluding food, at stores. Meanwhile, low-income families are the most likely to have exhausted their funds.
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus has doubled down on its special services and exclusive offerings for its top shoppers who spend upwards of $27,000 annually. The store recently partnered with designer fashion brand Brunello Cucinelli for a fashion show at a local ranch outside Dallas. Neiman Marcus emphasized that while it’s not ignoring the rest of the customer spectrum, investing more in its most loyal shoppers – the top 2% – makes sense in an unpredictable economic environment.
American Express CEO Stephen J. Squeri mentioned the company was limiting its focus to wealthier applicants to cater to the “premium customer base” that was still “spending on through.”