Luxury Markets

American Austerity, or the lack there of

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

While the US administration imposes budget cuts to mend the state of the country after the financial crisis, American consumers are showing behaviour that is unexpected of a country facing huge amounts of debt.

They called it the “new austerity”, which would see the spending habits of Americans to permanently change due to the events of 2008/2009. However, the Wall Street Journal has published data that goes quite against this grain. Instead of purchasing only convenience goods, a study has suggested that in February of this year, US consumers spent an annualized $1.2 trillion on non-essential items including pleasure boats, jewellery, alcohol and gambling. This spending was up 3.3% from a year earlier, compared to 2.4% for essential items such as food, housing and medicine.

So what does this tell us about the modern-day recession? Rather than a desperate hoarding of the essentials in a thrifty spirit, US consumers seem to be brimming in confidence in their economic future and splurging out on luxury treats. This obviously is good news for these luxury industries. Rather than a spirit of austerity, American consumers are still seeking the dream and not letting an economic crisis bring them down.

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Do-it-Yourself Online Art Sales for Billionaires

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

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A French artist named Dogmael Damien has set up his own website targeting billionaires in search of their next big acquisition, a recent Art Newspaper article reports.  The artist’s site is now online and markets itself as “Paintings for Billionaires Only”.  Each of the three paintings currently on the site can be had for only €150 million (and without any commission!).

None of the paintings has sold as of yet, but Damien has held firm to his concept.  He writes further on the site:

The acquisition of these paintings will cause a shock in the Art World, not only for the spectacular stunning massive price paid for it, but also for the private way it will be sold, far away from the noisy auction places.

This private sale would have made these paintings the world’s most expensive ever sold in art history. The Most expensive Living Artist.

The recent boom in art sales has seen works of art selling for well beyond their list prices at art fairs or presale estimates at auctions.  A Russian billionaire businessman named Alisher Usmanov recently bought 450 lots outright before the start of a Sotheby’s sale in October for “substantially above” the initial expectations of the sale.

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