Study: Web Plays Critical Role in Purchase Decisions of Affluent Adults

If you want to reach adults with significant purchasing power, you must deliver your message on the Web. Why? According to a new study by washingtonpost.com and Nielsen//NetRatings, affluent adults rely heavily on the Internet to make and research purchases. The study also found that affluent adults access the Web nearly every day, and use it far more than any other media during the day.

For the purposes of this study, washingtonpost.com and Nielsen//NetRatings defined affluent adults as washingtonpost.com users making over $100,000 annual household income, and surveyed 956 washingtonpost.com users.

The results show that virtually all affluent adult shoppers use the Web to make or research their purchases. For automobile, computer and travel purchases, use of the Web was extraordinarily high (over 90% of those surveyed).

Affluent adults access the Web almost every day from either work or home, and the Web dominates their weekday media usage.

The majority of affluent adults who purchase luxury items and various professional services say the Web is the best place for advertisers to reach them.

Web advertising and newspaper advertising are statistically tied as the #1 media for influencing purchase decisions of affluent adults.

“The bottom line is that retailers and manufacturers need to advertise on the Web if they want to influence Americans with high purchasing power,” said Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. “The messages that affluent Americans see on the Web are having a very real impact on their purchase decisions. This study supports the findings from our own case studies – that messages being delivered on the Web are heavily influencing both online and offline sales.”

This survey is part of an effort by washingtonpost.com and Nielsen//NetRatings to better understand how key online audience segments view and use the Web. In September of 2002, the two companies released a groundbreaking survey looking at how business decision makers use the Web (for more information, visit www.washingtonpost.com/decisionmakers). The survey released today is one of the first to look at how affluent Americans use the Web when making purchase decisions.

“The study provides evidence that affluent Americans are relying heavily on the Web when making purchase decisions and marketers targeting this segment of the population can use this knowledge to better plan their advertising campaigns,” said Carolyn Clark, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. “The Internet is not simply being used as an electronic shopping mall, but as a primary resource for understanding and researching purchases.”

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