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98pc of affluent consumers shop online: Unity Marketing

December 19, 2012


Ecommerce is especially important to luxury marketers nowadays since 98 percent of affluent consumers shop online, according to a new study by Unity Marketing.

These wealthy consumers who shop online are spending approximately five hours per week engaged in online shopping activities. This means that luxury retailers should be sure that their ecommerce sites and Internet campaigns are up to par.

“The Internet has been fully and completely integrated into the affluent consumer’s lifestyle,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, Stephens, PA.

“Affluent consumers use the Internet for news, they use it for fun, they use it to shop, they use it to communicate, they use it to bank, pay bills, plan travel - basically to do all of the essential things to their luxury lifestyles,” she said.

“Marketers have to fully integrate Internet into their marketing and branding strategies.”

Unity Marketing surveyed 831 affluent consumers with a household income of more than $100,000 who bought luxury products in the third quarter of 2012.

This group was surveyed Oct. 9-15 on their use of the Internet, social media and mobile devices.

Internet takeover

Luxury marketers should focus their strategies on the digital medium to capture their target audience since almost all affluent customers make purchases online.

Affluent consumers are spending an average of $3,702 per online purchase in addition to spending an average of five hours per week on online shopping.

Bergdorf Goodman ecommerce site

Luxury marketers and their executives need to see their Internet strategies as just as important as traditional media, Ms. Danziger said.

“Marketers need to master these tools and cannot leave it up to the experts,” Ms. Danziger said.“They really need to get hands-on with the Internet and understand its potential in marketing and branding strategy."

Mobile integration

The computer-based Internet is not the only place where affluent customers are making purchases.

There is also an increase in affluent consumers making purchases with mobile devices than in the previous year.

Approximately 40 percent of affluent shoppers made an online purchase in the last three months using a mobile device. This number rose from 22 percent last year.

However, many of these mobile shoppers are likely younger since interest in mobile technologies seem to lag behind among older consumers.

For instance, 49 percent of young affluent consumers made a purchase via a mobile device in the past three months compared to 22 percent of mature affluent consumers.

“Mobile commerce is absolutely necessary for luxury marketers,” Ms. Danziger said.

“While affluent consumers use mobile less often for making purchases than they use their desktops or laptop computers, mobile devices are rapidly becoming a primary means to gather shopping and brand information,” she said.

“Affluent consumers are rapidly adapting mobile devices into their lifestyles, so marketers must do the same to adapt mobile to their marketing and branding strategies.”

Social plateau

Though digital became more popular this year, the number of affluent consumers on social media Web sites has not shown any significant growth in the past year.

Young affluent consumers are the most active on social media. Ninety-three percent of consumers surveyed in this group have a profile on one or more social networking Web sites compared to 74 percent of affluent consumers ages 55-70.

But the number of consumers who “like” a brand on Facebook is increasing even though the number of affluent users on social media is not. That number rose from 34 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2012.

The number of affluent users on social media remains stagnant, but this is still a useful medium for luxury marketers on which to connect with their audience.

“Like mobile, affluent consumers use social media for specific applications and needs - not necessarily buying and shopping, but very much for shopping-related research and brand information,” Ms. Danziger said.

“Social media will play an essential role in marketing and branding strategies focused on the high-end customers,” she said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York