It stands to reason that the people who want to purchase a high-end fur coat right off the runway are often the same ones who are gambling on the stock market.
As such, there has long been a correlation between the sentiment of affluent consumers—who may covet the brands on display during New York Fashion Week—and stock market performance.
Unity Marketing, a firm that specializes in providing business insights into the luxury consumer, conducts a quarterly survey among the top 20 percent of U.S. households based on income, which typically starts at about $100,000. To participate, the households must have purchased a luxury good or service in the past three months.
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The survey asks these affluent consumers a series of questions—including how they feel about their financial status now and in the future, and how they feel about the direction of the country. A statistician then compiles the responses to pull together a figure representative of the group's confidence, which is known as the Luxury Consumption Index (LCI).
A score of 100 is the baseline from when the survey began in 2004.