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2 Research Organizations and Publications

2 Research Organizations and Publications

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Luxury Institute

• Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com) developed the Luxcelerate System to help

retailers improve client data collection, conversion, and retention rates.

Luxury Society

• Luxury Society (www.luxurysociety.com) is a membership-based business resource

for the luxury industry, connecting more than 31,000 executives in 150 countries to

brands, insights, service providers, and networking opportunities.

Martini Media

• Martini Media (www.martinimediainc.com) publishes The Martini Report, quarterly

reports that quantify the role of digital media in the lifestyles and spending habits of

affluent consumers.

RBC Wealth Management

• RBC Wealth Management (www.rbcwealthmanagement.com) publishes Wealth

Through The Prism of Culture and Mobility, an annual assessment of internationally

mobile wealthy individuals (IMWIs), those who live, work, or spend more than half

their time outside their home country and have investable assets of at least $1


Shullman Research Center

• The Shullman Research Center (www.shullman.net) publishes the results of surveys

of affluent consumers in its Luxury and Affluence Monthly Pulse. Shullman surveys

four groups of consumers: those making over $75,000, those making $250,000 or

more, those making upward of $500,000, and, for comparison, the general


Unity Marketing

• Unity Marketing (www.unitymarketingonline.com) publishes Luxury Trend Report,

providing an assessment of various aspects of spending by affluent households.

• Unity Marketing also publishes the Luxury Tracking Study, a quarterly report about

what products and brands luxury consumers are buying and how much they spend

on luxuries.

• In 2014, Unity Marketing launched Millionaire Market Monitor in conjunction with the

American Affluence Research Center.


• Wealth-X (www.wealthx.com) publishes World Ultra Wealth Report, an annual

global assessment of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals. UHNW individuals

have been described variously as those with at least $30 million in investable

assets, or with a disposable income of more than $20 million, or as those with more

than $50 million in wealth.


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50.3 Market Resources

American Affluence Research Center, 2426 Loxford Lane, Alpharetta, GA 30009.

(770) 740-2200. (www.affluenceresearch.org)

Boston Consulting Group (BCC), 1 Exchange Place, Boston MA 02109.

(617) 973-1200. (www.bcg.com)

Capgemini, 623 Fifth Avenue, 33rd Floor, New York, NY 10022. (212) 314-8000.


Ipsos, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10020. (212) 265-3200.


Knight Frank, 55 Baker Street, London W 1U 8AN, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7629 8171. (www.knightfrank.com)

Luxury Daily, 401 Broadway, Suite 1408, New York, NY 10013. (212) 334-6366.


Luxury Institute, 115 East 57 th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022. (646) 792-2669.


Luxury Society, 7 Avenue Krieg, 1208 Geneva, Switzerland. (www.luxurysociety.com)

Martini Media, 415 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 913-7446.


RBC Wealth Management, 60 S. 6 th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402. (612) 371-7750.


The Affluence Collaborative. (212) 225-9339. (www.affluencecollaborative.com)

The Shullman Research Center, 8 Quintard Avenue, Old Greenwich, CT 06830.

(203) 990-0541. (www.shullman.net)

Unity Marketing, 206 E. Church Street, Stevens, PA 17578. (717) 336-1600.


Wealth Engine, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814. (877) 928-3544.


Wealth-X, 8 Marina Boulevard, #05-02, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Singapore

018981. Tel.: +1 877 887 8454. (www.wealthx.com)


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• 280 •



51.1 Income-Based Definitions

The middle class is typically defined as households in the middle three quintiles

(i.e., incomes in the 20th percentile to 80 th percentile range). In 2014, this included

households with incomes between $21,432 and $112,262. W ith this definition, the

middle class is always the middle 60% of households ranked by income.

Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org) defines middle-income adults as

those that live in households with incomes two-thirds to double the national median

size-adjusted household income, about $42,000 to $125,000 annually in 2014 for a

three-person household. Lower-income households have incomes less than two-thirds

of the median, and upper-income households have incomes that are more than double

the median. Household incomes are adjusted for the cost of living in metropolitan

areas. With this definition, the middle class varies as the income distribution in the U.S.

shifts. As discussed in Chapter 52 of this handbook, the size of the middle class in the

U.S. has been dropping for several years and continues to decline.


“Today’s economy has been called rigged

against the middle class. During the recovery

from the 2008 recession, income increased

31% for the top 1% buy just 0.4% for 99% of


Time, 5/30/16


51.2 Self-Identification As Middle Class

A study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS, www.loc.gov/crsinfo/)

recognizes that the middle class can be defined as a psychological perception, or the

self assessment of one’s financial situation compared with those around them. Other

studies have found a strong link between relative income and self-reported happiness.


• 281 •

Pew Research Center found in 2015 that nearly 90% of adults considered

themselves middle class, regardless of whether their incomes languished near the

poverty line or skimmed the top stratum of earners.


“Middle income is not necessarily the same

thing as middle class. Even as the proportion of

households in the middle-income brackets has

narrowed, people’s identification with the

middle class remains broad. It’s not only what

you have, but how you feel. The middle-class

label is as much about aspirations among

Americans as it is about economics.”

The New York Times, 4/11/15


The traditional bedrocks of a middle-class life are adequate housing and health

care, college for the children plus retirement savings, generally with a personal vehicle,

and a regular summer vacation. And even though consumption was once a useful

shorthand guide to a middle-class lifestyle, it is no longer as reliable in a world where

smartphones and flat-screen TVs are staples in a majority of households below the

poverty line and retirement savings, even among top earners, are often treated as a


Ultimately, what people need to feel part of the middle class is a sense of

economic security, according to Thomas Hirschl, Ph.D., a sociologist at Cornell

University and co-author of Chasing the American Dream.


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