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In another sign of a potentially improving economy, a new study shows America’s "alpha females" are ready to start spoiling themselves again.
The survey by Ginger Consultingrevealed more than half of these "alpha women" – influential, ahead-of-the-curve women who are six months to two years in front of market trends – are planning for a vacation or new furniture splurge and more than 25 percent report their personal economic situation has taken a turn for the better over the past year.
The findings signal that relief might be in sight for retailers and marketers, since women influence more than 85 percent of all products and services sold in the U.S.
Overall, the research shows alpha females are adding everyday luxuries back into their lives. New clothes top the list, followed by spa services, eating out and gym memberships.
"In the consumer space, spending starts with alpha women," Ginger Principal Mary Van Note said. "Where alphas go, other women follow -- and this is a great sign for consumer spending in the coming months."
At the same time, the study showed there are several luxuries that alpha women cut during the recession and won't be adding back in to their budgets, including cable TV upgrades, coffee shop coffee, salon hair color and salon nail treatments.
With Mother's Day approaching, the research revealed most alpha women would prefer to have their family spoil them, rather than pampering themselves.
"They want family and friends to plan a special way to celebrate the day," said Ginger Consulting Principal Beth Perro-Jarvis. "She would ideally include a significant gift that she wouldn't get for herself – like a technology splurge or something sparkly."
The research was based on surveys of 400 members of Ginger’s proprietary Alpha Panel from 10 U.S. markets, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.