In a March survey of the wealthiest 10% of US households, the American Affluence Research Center found that intentions to cruise during the next 12 months had fallen to 12% of the respondents, down from 14% in the Fall 2008 survey.

The new reading compares to a high of 22% in the Fall 2007 survey and the prior record lows of 13% recorded in the Fall 2002 and 2003 surveys.

At 12% of a population of 11.2 million households, the estimated number of cruise buyers is 1.3 million households or 2.6 million total cruisers over the next 12 months.

The Affluent Market Tracking Study #15, published by the American Affluence Research Center, is based on 640 survey participants who have an average annual household income of $290,000, an average primary residence value of $1.2 million, an average net worth of $3.1 million, and average investable assets of $1.4 million. The studies have been conducted twice yearly since 2002.

Future demand among the affluent market is unlikely to strengthen soon as the respondents reported a gloomy 12 month outlook for business conditions and personal household income. As a result, 81% say they have reduced or deferred expenditures over the past 12 months, will do so during the next 12 months, or had both done so in the past and would continue to do so in the future.