rocketing
(ROK.uh.ting) pp. Spending a great deal of money on a few important items while spending only an average amount or less on everything else.

Example Citation:
According to research that Thomas J. Stanley did for his book "The Millionaire Next Door," written with William D. Danko, 70 percent of millionaires have their shoes resoled and repaired rather than replaced, and the average millionaire spends about $140 on a pair of shoes, which doesn't get you Guccis. After Visa and MasterCard, the most common credit cards in the millionaire's wallets are charge cards for Sears and J.C. Penney. In that 1996 study, Stanley and Danko reported that the typical millionaire paid $399 for his most expensive suit and $24,800 for his or her most recent car or truck, which is only $3,800 more than what the average American spent.

In other words, they shop the way most Americans shop, in that confused hierarchy-busting manner the market researchers now call rocketing. They spend lots of money on a few items they really care about — their barbecue grills or their lawnmowers — and then they go downmarket to Wal-Mart to buy most of the other stuff they don't care about. This isn't upper-class consumption or even relentlessly middle-class consumption. It's mixed-up no-class consumption.
—David Brooks, "A Nation of Grinders," The New York Times, June 29, 2003

Earliest Citation:
Consumers are spending a disproportionate amount of income in certain categories, like things automotive, according to a recent survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. It's called ''rocketing,'' says researcher John Butman, and he says the shaky economy is not making a drastic dent in this category of spending.

''rocketing is occurring at every income level,'' Butman says. ''When people are feeling fear or worry about the economy, they find solace in goods that give them pleasure.''
—Tamara Warren, "Driving downmarket," AutoWeek, December 16, 2002

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