FOR RICHER, FOR POORER

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From flatware to pillow shams, there's no denying the spending power of a bride-to-be. But just how much money do betrothed couples have at their disposal? A report released in January by Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, estimates that today's engaged couples and newlyweds (couples who have been married a year or less) have a combined after-tax income of $230 billion, up 11.2 percent from 1997. What's more, the market is projected to grow another 18 percent by 2006, at which times these couples will have a projected aggregate spending power of $272 billion. In terms of an actual headcount, Packaged Facts estimates that there were 12.5 million engaged and newlywed couples in 2001, a number projected to grow to 12.8 million by 2006. “Not only are greater numbers of people getting engaged and married in the United States, but they're also registering for more gifts at multiple stores,� says Meg Hargreaves, VP of research publishing at MarketResearch.com. Indeed, hardware stores and vendors of consumer electronics may also benefit from the rising income of these consumers: 95 percent of grooms take part in the registry process, especially when shopping for appliances and tools. Give him a scan gun and watch him go wild — men are so easy to please!

WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS

Percent of adults who have purchased specified household items in the past year, by marital status.

ALL ADULTS ENGAGED NEWLY-WED
Sheets/pillowcases 37% 42% 36%
Comforters/quilts 23% 30% 27%
Mattress and box-spring set 14% 15% 17%
Couch/sofa/love seat 11% 14% 13%
Dining room furniture 6% 9% 9%
Electric can opener 6% 8% 8%
Electric toaster 4% 5% 5%
Electric blender 4% 6% 5%
Source: Packaged Facts
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