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Affluent Consumers Are Ready to Spend
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While much of America struggles to recover from the Great Recession, affluent consumers are ready to spend—and among the Millennial generation, even not-so-affluent consumers are poised to splurge. That’s the conclusion of a recent Shullman Research Center Luxury and Affluence Monthly Pulse, which studied Millennials (age 18 to 33), Generation X (age 34 to 48) and Baby Boomers (age 49 to 67).

Millennials making $75,000 and up plan to buy the same types of items as Boomers with household incomes of $250,000 or more, the study found. Two-thirds of Millennials making $75,000 or more plan to buy a luxury product in the next 12 months, compared to just 35 percent of Gen X and 44 percent of boomers in the $75,000-and-up category.

Interestingly, the wealthier Millennials are, the less likely they are to plan a luxury purchase. Just 52 percent of Millennials with incomes of $250,000 or more annually say they will buy a luxury product in the next 12 months, compared to 72 percent of Generation X and 76 percent of Boomers in this income category.

Millennials with incomes of $75,000-plus are more likely than average to take a luxury vacation, purchase premium beers, buy premium cosmetics, buy or lease a luxury vehicles, buy fine jewelry and purchase designer clothing or accessories. Generation X with household incomes of $250,000 or more are likely to buy the same items. Compared to the younger generations, Baby Boomers are more likely to say they plan to buy luxury cruises, premium cosmetics, fine wines, premium liquors and fine jewelry.

Those at the high end of the affluent scale (making $250,000 and up) are more likely to plan luxury purchases—76 percent, compared to 47 percent of those making $75,000 or more and 34 percent of the general population.

What’s the hottest commodity for luxury shoppers? In all categories—affluent and non-affluent—travel is what they most desire. Three in 10 of those making $250,000 or more, 18 percent of those making $75,000 or more and 12 percent of Americans overall say they plan to take a luxury vacation in the coming year.

What does this mean for your marketing?

  • If you target Millennials, think aspirational. Even lower-end affluents are susceptible to the lure of luxury, so focus your marketing on status brands, luxury experiences, and treating or rewarding yourself.
  • If you’re in the travel industry, this is your year. Pump up the luxury aspects of your travel offerings, whether it’s personalized treatment, luxury products at the hotel or destination, or a customized itinerary.

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