Study of Affluent Consumers Confirms Need for Multi-Channel Marketing Strategies and Mix of Casual and Dressy Merchandise

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Affluent customers’ preferences for brands, stores, and fashion attributes tend to vary less by their income or spending power than by their “affluent life style.” Affluent consumers who name upscale stores and designer brands as those they shop and wear most are also likely to shop for some of their clothing at mass merchants like Target and mix in pieces from branded stores like Talbots and Old Navy. The result is a style that fits their overall life style.

the best tools for marketing to the affluent.

A recent study of affluent Americans’ fashion preferences confirms what many merchants and brands have suspected: affluent consumers shop a wide range of channels for clothing and purchase a wide range of apparel and brands.

  •      The percent of respondents saying that a mix of casual and dressy is “always important” is 44%, slightly higher than the percent saying “classic and timeless” is always important (38%).
  •     To prove the point about mix of clothing brands, the top brands purchased included both Ralph Lauren and GAP. Ann Taylor is the most purchased brand overall.
  •     One in two customers name a designer brand among their top three brands bought/worn most often in the last 12 months.
  •     Most affluent customers’ spending on apparel occurs in varying degrees across all thirteen channels measured (including upscale department stores such as Neiman Marcus, online retailers such as, or catalogs such as Lands’ End). The range is from a low of 2.7% spent at discounters/mass merchants (such as Wal-Mart) to 15.7 % at premium department stores (such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s).
  •     Almost one in two customers buys some apparel online.

The study was conducted by Premium Knowledge Group and involved 992 consumers (male and female) with average household income in excess of $240K. The study’s results are projectable to the top 5% of the U.S. population. Other interesting findings include:

  •      Consumers who use a “personal shopper” spend much more on average than those who do not.
  •     Fit, quality and comfort are rated as the most important attributes in clothing overall. However, factors such as styling, expressiveness and versatility are also likely to be associated with a brand receiving a high value.

Premium Knowledge Group is a marketing services firm that provides “the best tools for marketing to the affluent.” Its offerings include research, Life Style marketing strategy, training for sales associates, and personalization tools. In addition to collecting information about affluent consumers’ preferences in fashion and apparel, Premium Knowledge Group collects information about spending in premium automotive, travel and leisure, cosmetics, media and overall affluent life style.

Additional information about the study can be obtained from Premium Knowledge Group at or by calling 214.540.8018.

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Denise Brien
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