Luxury Consumers have Fully Integrated the Internet into their Lives, a New Study from Unity Marketing Reveals

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New survey from Unity Marketing examines how affluents use the internet, social media and mobile devices and apps in support of their luxury lifestyles.

Pamela N. Danziger, Unity Marketing

Today social media has the potential to reach most any luxury consumer -- young or old and the HENRY affluents (high earners not rich yet), the top 2 percent Ultra-affluents, even the High-Net-Worth.

For businesses targeting high-end shoppers, having a robust, engaging and sticky website, as well as a proactive social media and mobile platform, is no longer an option, but a necessity. That is because high-end consumers have fully integrated the internet into their luxury lifestyles, according to a new study entitled Affluents Online about the online habits and usage of affluent consumers from Unity Marketing.

In a survey among nearly 1,000 affluent consumers (avg. income $248.9k) Unity Marketing found that 98 percent of those surveyed used the internet to shop and make purchases in the three month study period. They spent on average $3,702 on their high-end online purchases. Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and lead researcher in the study said, “Online shopping is ubiquitous among affluent consumers. The typical affluent consumer spends about 5 hours a week online conducting shopping-related activities.”

Key trend in affluent online shopping is the growth in making mobile purchases

Danziger continues, “In comparing last year’s survey with the one just conducted, we found similar strong interest among affluents in online shopping. What has trended up significantly from 2011 to 2012 is the use of mobile devices to make these purchases. In the latest study nearly 40 percent of affluent shoppers made an online purchase in the past three months using a mobile device; this rose from only 22 percent a mere 12 months ago. But unlike computers, mobile usage still lags among the mature affluents (aged 45-70 years). For example, 49 percent of young affluents (under 45 years) made a purchase through a mobile device in the past three months, as compared with only 22 percent of mature affluents. The consumers’ age, not income or gender, is the key determiner of whether they use a mobile device to power their luxury lifestyle.”

Luxury marketers can use social media to reach most affluents of all ages and incomes

Another key finding about affluents use of the internet is that social media usage (defined as having one or more profiles on a social networking site) has effectively plateaued at over 80 percent, showing no significant growth overall from 2011 to 2012. Young affluents are the most active on social media (93 percent from 24-34 years), but some 74 percent of even the oldest age segment, 55-70 years, use social media, so social media is a viable way for businesses that target an older demographic to connect with their customers.

“Today social media have the potential to reach most any luxury consumer – young or old and the HENRY affluents (high earners not rich yet), the top 2 percent ultra-affluents, even the high-net-worth rich. And while overall usage of social media hasn’t risen in the past year, more affluents, especially women, have created a connection with a brand through social media. In 2012 some 43 percent of social media users liked a product or brand (43 percent) on Facebook, as compared with 34 percent in 2011,” Danziger said.

The study also reveals that affluents connect with brands primarily to gain access to discounts and special offers, but other important reasons they connect are related to sharing their passion for brands with their social networks. For example, 31 percent connect with brands to show others that they like and support this brand. This presents exciting possibilities to create compelling friend-get-a-friend promotions through Facebook and other social media platforms.

This new survey gives marketers fact-based insights into how they are using the internet, social media and mobile devices to connect with brands. Based upon the research, the report calls out key marketing strategies and tactics businesses can use to take advantage of the consumers’ online behavior in order to connect with them. The study helps businesses make better use of their websites, social media and mobile platforms to create relationships with high-end, affluent shoppers. Click this link to learn more about the study and to order a copy.

More about the study Affluents Online

This study reveals how affluents use internet, social media and mobile apps in support of their luxury lifestyles so that marketers can develop strategies to use these marketing and branding tools most effectively. It answers these critical questions for planners and managers and suggest strategies and tactics they can use to develop deeper online relationships with the high-end affluent consumers:

  •     How often do affluent consumers use the internet in support of luxury goods and services purchases, what they buy online, how much they spend?
  •     When do they turn to the Internet and why they use it?
  •     What are their favorite luxury websites and what specifically do they value about their favorite websites?
  •     How do affluent luxury shoppers use social media to learn about luxury brands, share information about luxury brands, and connect with people with similar outlooks on luxury brands?
  •     What turns them on about using the Internet for luxury purchasing and research?
  •     What is the opportunity for luxury marketers to connect with their customers through mobile media?

About Pam Danziger & Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer segment. She is president of Unity Marketing, a boutique marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Unity Marketing specializes in providing business insights into the mind of the affluent consumer. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

Pam's latest book is entitled Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How new consumer values are redefining the way we market luxury (Paramount Market Publishing, 2011). Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience'', published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses—as well as the Classes, (Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2005) and Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior ( Dearborn Trade Pub-lishing, 2004).

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