BOSTON: High income male consumers in the US are heavy online shoppers and represent a "captive audience" for advertisers, new research from digital marketing agency iProspect has shown.

Results from the report, which was conducted with the assistance of market research firm comScore, suggest that the 19m American males who earn more than $100,000 per year are very familiar with ecommerce services.

In all, 98% of the cohort has previously made a purchase of some kind online, with 67% currently using the services more than once a month.

Moreover, a clear majority (58%) now spend between $500 and $4,000 per year on the goods, while a hard core, equating to 40% of those making two or more buys per week, spend over $30,000 annually.

"The data shows that online shopping is the norm rather than the anomaly for the affluent male," Andrea Wilson, director of digital strategy at iProspect, said.

Brands that found most favour among the group trended towards the automotive and fashion sectors, with Rolex, Louis Vuitton, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz the top five most-cited companies.

Data from ecommerce-related online searches also revealed a preference for the travel and sports categories, alongside apparel and motoring.

The iProspect report suggested that the wealthy male cohort is potentially receptive to online marketing initiatives, with 70% researching goods and services via the web before buying.

In terms of media platforms, 91% of the group used a PC every day, while 77% were daily users of smartphones, a total that reached 50% for tablets. In all, over two thirds (67%) have previously made a purchase on a mobile device, with 46% buying via their tablets.

This finding chimes with recent research from Nielsen, which demonstrated that device ownership is closely correlated with income.

For example, Nielsen found that just 44% of people in the key 35 to 44-year-old demographic who earned $15,000-35,000 per year were smartphone owners, a total that rose to 75% for those in the age group with annual earnings of over $100,000.

The report also indicated that overall smartphone penetration in the US, across all income levels, had reached 48% in January 2012.

Data sourced from iProspect/Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff