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90pc of affluent US consumers use mobile, digital apps: report

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April 12, 2013

Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag mobile app

Mobile and digital applications are used by 90 percent of U.S. consumers with a household income of $250,000 or more, but just 5 percent of these apps are categorized as luxury, according to a new report from the Shullman Research Center.

The “Shullman Luxury and Affluence Monthly Pulse: March Preview Wave” report explored the digital mediums consumed by affluent adults in the United States across three age groups. One key learning for marketers is that apps described as “luxury,” compared to all other categories in the survey, are installed the least across all generations.

“Everything relates to awareness and eventually promotion,” said Bob Shullman, founder/CEO of the Shullman Research Center, New York.

“If you want to be playing in that field, you need to let people know that you have an app,” he said. “In addition to that, you need to point out the benefits of why consumers should have your app.”

The Shullman Research Center conducted this survey online Feb. 26-March 6 among five samples of adult U.S. consumers – all household income levels plus four income samples of 250 surveys each as follows: $75,000-$149,999, $150,000-$249,999, $250,000-$499,999 and more than $500,000.

The March Preview Wave takes into account the responses of adults with a household income of $250,000 or more. Approximately 3 percent of adults in the U.S. live in these households, according to Shullman Research Center.

Mobile majority
The report broke up consumers’ responses by age level: under age 35, 35-54 and 55 and older. These demographics make up 23 percent, 46 percent and 31 percent of the U.S. population, respectively.

Ninety-four percent of respondents under age 35 own a smartphone, as do 85 percent of respondents age 35-54 and 80 percent of respondents age 55 or older.

Also, 52 percent of respondents under age 35, 72 percent age 35-54 and 63 percent age 55 and older own a tablet.

Among the mediums through which consumers have seen or heard advertising, 33 percent of respondents under age 35, 30 percent of respondents age 35-54 and 25 percent of respondents age 55 and older reported their smartphone.

Similarly, 26 percent, 28 percent and 33 percent said their tablet is where they see advertising messages.

The most popular is television since 80 percent of consumers across all three age groups reported seeing advertising on the medium.

The survey also asked those who had seen or heard advertising on a medium if they were interested in the message.

Forty percent of the total survey pool said that they have considerable or some interest in advertising seen on their smartphone. Among them, 84 percent were under age 35, 39 percent were 35-54 and 22 percent were 55 and older.

On tablets, 28 percent of respondents under age 35, 42 percent age 35-54 and 30 percent of age 55 and older have considerable or some interest in advertising on the medium.

As a result, luxury marketers should tailor their mobile advertising message to the correct audience.

“[Marketers] should figure out where they want to reach people, and where they are open to messaging,” Mr. Shullman said.

More app-ealing
Respondents were also polled on the types of apps that are installed on their electronic devices including their smartphone, tablet and Web browser.

Fifty-four percent of consumers with a household income of more than $250,000 use gaming apps. Also, 51 percent use weather apps.

Some luxury marketers have used these types of apps as advertising platforms.


Lexus Draw Something color palette 

For example, automaker Lexus built brand awareness through an integrated campaign with Zynga’s Draw Something mobile app that allowed users to play with the ES model’s colors and Lexus-themed words (see story).

Meanwhile, 5 percent of respondents use apps that they perceive as luxury, 9 percent use fashion or style apps and 11 use lifestyle apps.

But, 30 percent of respondents use shopping apps, a category of which some luxury retailers’ apps could be part.

For instance, department store chain Bloomingdale’s has iPhone and Android apps that let consumers shop by trends, check prices and read product reviews.

Also, an in-store bar code scanner lets shoppers view additional product details and read customer reviews (see story).

If luxury marketers want to increase usage of their mobile apps among their target audience, they should develop and promote them with a focus on how they will make consumers’ lives easier, per Mr. Shullman.

“Affluent and luxury consumers really want convenience,” Mr. Shullman said. “Everything relates to convenience and enjoyment.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York

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Tricia Carr is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are apparel and accessories, arts and entertainment, education, food and beverage, fragrance and personal care, government, healthcare, home furnishings, jewelry, legal/privacy and nonprofits. Reach her at tricia@napean.com.

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