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58pc of affluent consumers use smartphones while watching TV: report

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March 4, 2013

Affluent consumers use smartphones while engaging with other media

The majority of affluent consumers regularly multitask with media on multiple screens, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, according to the latest Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer.

Laptop computers, smartphones and tablets were the most common devices used by affluent consumers while watching television. Since most affluent consumers are multitasking while consuming media, luxury marketers need to make sure their message stands out on the proper platforms to reach their audience.

“Technology is truly integrated into [consumers'] lives to such an extent they find it hard to stop using one device, even when they are engaged with one or two others,” said Steve Kraus, San Francisco-based chief research and insights officer for Ipsos MediaCT‘s audience measurement group.

“[It was surprising to find] the number of people who describe their mobile devices or TV ‘difficult to live without,’” he said.

The Mendelson Affluent Barometer was conducted online Feb. 1-8 with 1,055 affluent adults claiming a household income of at least $100,000. The sample also included 192 ultra affluent consumers, defined as adults with a household income of at least $250,000. The data was weighted to reflect the U.S. Census data.

Media multitaskers
Sixty-four percent of affluent consumers regularly or almost constantly multitask with media on multiple screens, according to the data.

Sixty-three percent of these multitaskers are using laptop computers, 58 percent their smartphones and 53 percent their tablets.

Also, 51 percent of affluent consumers have engaged in social media while watching TV and 19 percent of those consumers said they do it on a regular basis.

Of those consumers who reported multitasking with social media, 49 percent had used Facebook, 23 percent Twitter and 26 percent another social network such as Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn or Instagram.

“Frequently I am watching a DVR-ed TV show, while texting and playing Words With Friends and on Facebook,” said a survey respondent. “I also read a book on [my] Kindle Fire and switch over to Words With Friends, check Facebook, check stocks or eBay.”

The survey also asked affluent consumers what media platform would be difficult to live without.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said their laptop computer would be very difficult to live without, followed by 66 percent who said their smartphone, 59 percent who said their TV, 52 percent who said their desktop computer and 33 percent who said their tablet.

These findings show that luxury marketers should make sure their multichannel campaigns are strong across all platforms to engage their target audience.

“It is a multichannel world, so brands need to respond by being in all channels and understand how to stay true to their brand strengths and values in each channel,” Mr. Kraus said.

“In addition, today’s widespread media multitasking puts a higher premium on consumer engagement – really reaching them with messages that grab the attention of consumers and speak to important consumer values,” he said.

Looking up
The data also found that the amount of affluent consumers who are optimistic about the economy and personal prospects rose in the February report.

Forty-three percent of affluent consumers reported feeling optimistic about the U.S. economy in February, while 36 percent reported feeling pessimistic.

For ultra-affluent consumers, 48 percent felt optimistic, while 31 percent felt pessimistic.

“Housing markets are on the rebound, stocks are up on larger profits and unemployment is trending downward,” said an affluent survey respondent on why he felt optimistic.

Affluent consumers also seemed to feel confident about their own personal economic situations, with 52 percent reporting that they believe they will be better off a year from now.

“I put my 401k savings in safer funds, my house will be paid off more and I will be getting a raise and a bonus,” said an affluent survey respondent. “I am one of the lucky ones, this recession has not hurt us that bad except for our stocks, bonds and retirements funds.”

With the growth of this optimism, luxury marketers should refocus their strategy to target ultra-affluent consumers and spend less time reeling in the aspirational group.

“Luxury marketers should continue to focus on higher-end, ultra-affluent consumers,” Mr. Kraus said.

“Luxury growth projections are modest for affluents as a whole, and we currently see no signs of a return to the widespread aspirational luxury shopping behavior that characterized pre-recession America,” he said.

Final take
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York 

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Erin Shea is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are apparel and accessories, government, home furnishings, legal and privacy, nonprofits and retail. Reach her at erin@napean.com.

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