Affluents have unique habits

03 August 2011

NEW YORK: Marketers looking to engage affluent US consumers need to adopt a nuanced approach when choosing between channels, a study has found.

A survey of 2,088 adults by the IAB and Ipsos Mendelsohn reported that 98% of wealthy Americans use the web, measured against 79% of the general population.

These totals stood at 33% and 17% respectively regarding smartphone ownership, the research added.

Similarly, the typical consumer boasting an annual salary of $100,000 or more dedicated 26.2 hours per week to the web, compared with 21.7 hours across the entire population.

Further, the average US audience member spent 34 hours watching TV and 16 hours listening to the radio each week, coming in at 17.6 hours and 7.5 hours for their high-earning counterparts.

Some 15% of the latter group also currently own a tablet such as Apple's iPad, a percentage well ahead of the overall penetration of the emerging generation of slate devices.

More broadly, 79% of this demographic agreed their life had become "intertwined with technology" during the last ten years.

Another 59% stated that their day-to-day existence was defined by greater complexity, 58% are increasingly "stressed", and 54% are seeking to "find ways to do more with less".

"Virtually all the affluent are online. Their ownership of tablets and e-readers has increased by 50% over the past six months, and shows every indication of continued growth," said Bob Shullman, president, Ipsos Mendelsohn.

"They have come to expect the benefits of digital media, even if it doesn't alleviate all work-life pressures."

When discussing ad formats including banners, search, video, social media, email and mobile, the group earning more than $100,000 a year logged an exposure rate of 88% in the seven days before the study.

In addition, 59% of affluent consumers took action based on a digital ad in the six months prior to the poll.

High-earning shoppers more frequently "liked" brands and shared ads on social media, visited retailers to see and purchase products, bought items online and sent emails to companies than less wealthy web users.

By contrast, less well-off participants more regularly clicked on ads, accessed official brand websites and searched for related content.

Among the other areas of significant difference were that 55% of wealthy consumers learned about new products due to online advertising, falling to 49% for their counterparts earning under $100,000.

These figures hit 32% and 23% respectively for the number of people willing to share some personal information on the web to get a more customised experience on the web.

According to the survey, 21% of US households sit in the affluent category, collectively controlling 70% of all consumer wealth, and spending 3.2 times more than other Americans.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff