Young Rich and Online Digital Lives of Affluent Customers

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If you think luxury marketers have a monopoly on the affluent consumer market, think again. With higher spending power, extensive and growing use of the Internet for pre-purchase research and buying, and an open attitude toward native and sponsored content, the affluent consumer market is a goldmine for both mainstream and luxury digital marketers, reveals a new report.

The Martini Report: The Affluent Audience Online (Vol. 1: Autos and the Elite), conducted by Martini Mediaand Ipsos MediaCT, is the first in a series of quarterly studies focused on digital habits and spending of consumers with $75,000 or more of household income.

4 Segments of Affluent Consumers 

With insights about the affluent consumer market, as well as their use of mobile, desktop and tablets for entertainment, product research and purchasing, the report also reveals the impact of digital media on affluent auto purchases, one of the most heavily researched purchase categories among this population.

“The affluent population is large and growing — in size, marketplace impact and digital media consumption,” said Stephen Kraus, Chief Insights Officer of Ipsos MediaCT, in a press release. “This research underscores how deeply the Internet is ingrained in affluent lives and affluent shopping, as well as how effective the Internet can be in engaging otherwise hard-to-reach consumers.” 

The Martini Report categorizes affluent consumers into four segments based on household income and age, noting, “Internet use is universal, pervasive, and growing from already high levels across segments.” 

1. Hyper Affluent: With an annual household income of $250,000 or more, and an average income of more than $500,000, this primary audience for luxury marketers comprises 3 percent of the US population and has a median age of 48.

2. Mass Affluent: A key target for both mainstream and luxury markets, the Mass Affluents have a household income of $100,000 to $249,999 and spend significantly in some consumer categories, but not as much as Hyper Affluents do on high-end luxury items. With a median age of 45, Mass Affluents have high levels of collective spending power, as they are eight times as numerous as Hyper Affluents.   

3. Emerging Affluent: Aged 18 to 39, with a household income of $75,000 to  $99,999, this group is less upscale than the Mass or Hyper Affluent. However, given their high income and young age, they appear to be on a path toward more elite status. 

4. Aspiring Affluent: This group has the same income of $75,000 to $99,999 as the Emerging Affluent, but is over age 40. With higher-than-average income relative to the general US population, many have peaked in terms of future earning potential.

Young Affluents Prefer Mobile

According to the report, affluents across all segments spend more than 10 hours per week on the Internet using their computers, have more smartphones than tablets, and those with mobile devices use them to access the internet between 1.5 to 3 hours per week.

Mobile and Internet usage was also shown to increase with income, and is higher among younger affluents across segments.

Favor Pre-Purchase Online Research

Across segments, 71 percent to 92 percent of affluent consumers researched products or services on a computer, and many did pre-purchase research on smartphones and tablets as well, states the report. 

Underscoring the importance of digital campaigns for marketers, affluent consumers consider online research extremely or very important when booking a vacation hotel, or when purchasing an automobile, tablet or smartphone. 

With respect to automotive purchases, across various media types, only the Internet shows signs of becoming a more important influence on affluent automotive purchases. 

The report also noted that online pre-purchase research is highest among younger, more affluent consumers, particularly in mobile.

Affluents Like the 'Buy' Button 

From Amazon to eBay to Etsy — in addition to high-end luxury retailers — more and more affluent consumers are pressing the Buy button while online:

  • 70 percent of affluents ($100,000 plus incomes) purchased from Amazon in the past 30 days, averaging 3.4 purchases, and about a third are members of Amazon Prime
  • Purchases by affluents on eBay and Etsy grew significantly from 2013 to 2014
  • 60 percent to 70 percent of affluents made a purchase in the last week using their computer, with the highest percentage of purchasers coming from the Hyper Affluent group and younger affluent consumers
  • Those who make mobile purchases are typically more upscale, younger affluents, and make several purchases each week using their devices

Make it Relevant

When asked what would increase their interest in online advertising, the overwhelming response from affluents was: “Advertising more relevant to my needs and interests.” The importance of relevance was consistent across all segments.

Coming in next: “Advertising that is funny or entertaining.”

“Clearly the onus is on online marketers to develop and leverage a better understanding of online users, as well as more compelling and engaging creative,” states the report.

Also compelling is the fact that younger, affluent males are more open to native or sponsored content, provided the content is relevant to them.

Two-thirds of younger affluents believe that “If an article I read on the Internet is relevant to me, it doesn’t matter whether the article is written by the publisher of the website or an advertiser,” concludes the report.

Title image by Grand Parc - Bordeaux, France  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.