Affluent consumers (those with household incomes of $100,000 or more) make up 20 percent of U.S. households. But while they may be designated as wealthy, these shoppers don’t feel that way, says a new report by eMarketer, Affluents in the US: How They Behave as Consumers (and Matter to Marketers. In fact, affluent shoppers are as likely as other income groups to search for deals and discounts when they’re shopping. Here’s some of what the report found, and what it means to your business.
Affluents don’t feel rich. Partly, this is because many of them came from middle-class backgrounds where they learned to seek bargains. Partly, it’s because affluents tend to live in metropolitan areas with a high cost of living. And partly, it’s because they’re spending a lot of money. More than three in 10 (31 percent) of affluents in the survey say they don’t have any savings and are living from paycheck to paycheck. Just 11 percent say they could survive for a year on their savings.
Even among affluents who feel more financially secure, the Great Recession led to behavioral changes that have not gone away as the economy has recovered. Specifically, affluents report that they have cut back on purchases of clothing and jewelry, as well as reduced spending on their cars, daily expenses and entertainment.
As they look for bargains in their daily and luxury shopping, affluents are turning online. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) have smartphones and 41 percent have tablets. The higher the income level, the more likely affluent consumers are to own tablets: Among those with incomes of $500,000 or more, 51 percent own tablets.
Overall, eMarketer reports, affluents’ bargain-seeking behavior is much like the average consumers’. More than one-third shop at Costco and nearly half shop at Wal-Mart. The difference, the report notes, is that affluents “buy more of everything.”
A whopping 90 percent of affluents report they usually or always do research to find the best values before shopping. However, keep in mind that the best value doesn’t mean the lowest price. Nearly three- quarters agree that “Good value for the money is more important than price.”
Time is the biggest luxury for affluents. They are willing to pay more for products and services that are convenient or save them time. That’s one reason that affluent Internet users are 47 percent more likely to buy online than non-affluent Internet users. Some factors of online shopping that appeal to affluents include convenience, early or exclusive access to products or special offers, and the speed of making purchases.
To attract these high-end consumers, try these tips:
- Provide convenience. Time is money for these shoppers, so in both your online and brick-and-mortar environments, make sure your service is rapid and streamlined.
- Single them out. Consider segmenting consumer mailing and email lists to provide exclusive offers or sales events to your “big spenders.”
- Focus on value—but remember, to affluents, value means quality. Affluents have the means to buy a higher-priced item of higher quality rather than something cheaper and more disposable. Your marketing should emphasize the lasting value, reliability and quality of what you sell.
- Go digital. Affluents go online to research before they buy, so make sure your business has a strong online presence, including listings on local search directories and reviews on ratings and review sites. Consider placing pay-per-click ads to capitalize on consumers’ researching behavior. If your product requires more education before the sale is made, provide lots of product information and assistance on your website so consumers can educate themselves before contacting you.
Find out how Web.com’s online marketing services can help you reach your target customers.