With a record number of billionaires in the U.S., and even more consumers who want to spend like them, retailers are dreaming up ever-more-outrageous and excessive holiday gift ideas for the new Gilded Age.
Most are just for show. Neiman Marcus's Triton 1000 submarine (price: $1.4 million, leather seats included) and its $1.59 million private concert by the Kirov Orchestra have generated more publicity than buyers so far.
Yet the rich are truly spending, seemingly unrattled by the quakes in the financial markets. According to a survey done by Prince & Associates, a Connecticut-based wealth research firm, shoppers worth $10 million or more plan to boost their holiday spending by up to 67% this year. Most will be putting money into jewelry (average expenditure of $152,400), fashion items ($46,200) and yacht charters ($487,000).