Two recent reports have noted that the rich are spending less, in addition to being smarter and more subtle shoppers.
The Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America 2010 conducted by American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group uncovered some interesting findings about how the richest 10 percent of the population are spending their moneys, as well as how they're regarding their wealth. At the same time, the Journal of Consumer Reseach article, Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption examines four studies on the emergence of less obvious branding on luxury goods.
According to the Survey of Affluence and Wealth, the rich are cutting way back on spending, buying more generic brands and hunting for bargains. And, as outlined in the Subtle Signals article, when it does come to pricey purchases, buyers are moving away from prominent logos and obvious status identifiers.
The article cites "connoisseurship" as a major status symbol too, which makes sense given that the those polled still showed a strong desire to be recognized as weatlhy, despite their newer, less obvous consumption habits. In other words, it's not the expensive stuff that's so appealing as much as the savviness to recognize said stuff (which is pretty easy for someone who actually owns the expensive stuff to say).