Where And How The Wealthy (a.k.a. Millionaires) Shop

Recently, my columns have been focusing on wealthy consumers (millionaires —consumers with a personal net worth — total assets less total liabilities — of $1 million or more). These have generated some interesting feedback from readers regarding the wealthy — about 20 million adults, according to our survey's projections based on Bureau of the Census estimates.

During the past few weeks, a number of readers have sent us questions about where these millionaires shop and whether their shopping behaviors vary by age or generation (Millennials are 18 to 33 years old; Gen Xers, 34 to 48; and Boomers, 49 to 67).

In our latest survey wave, we asked a number of questions that provide useful insights for advertisers, and especially retailers, to consider as they determine where and how millionaires shop in today's more digitally-oriented marketplace depending on the generation to which they belong. This column addresses the following: 

  • The stores at which millionaires shop; 
  • Millionaires' preferred method of researching, but not necessarily buying, products and services of interest to them; and 
  • Their preferred method of actually purchasing the products and services of interest to them

While our survey included more than 100 retailers (both mass market and upscale), this column focuses only on the top 10 stores where all millionaires shopped. These are listed below in descending rank based on the proportion of millionaires who shop there. Following each store's name is the percentage of all millionaires shopping there, then Millennials, etc. 

Among all millionaires, Amazon is the # 1 store shopped during the past 12 months, followed by Walmart and Target. The popularity of these three mass stores is in large part driven by the Boomer generation, which makes up about one half of all millionaires. Notably, though, Walmart is #1 among Gen Xers. Also, two of these Top 10 stores are digital (Amazon and eBay) and they are all mainstream American stores as none of the more upscale stores make the Top 10.

Top 10 Stores

 *Amazon  (All: 62%; Millennials: 64%; Gen X: 41%; Boomers: 67%)

 *Walmart  (All: 54%; Millennials: 48%; Gen X: 49%; Boomers: 55%)

 *Target  (All: 49%; Millennials: 43%; Gen X: 28%; Boomers: 58%)

 *Best Buy  (All: 38%; Millennials: 42%; Gen X: 39%; Boomers: 38%)

 *Macy's  (All: 37%; Millennials: 57%; Gen X: 23%; Boomers: 34%)

 *Costco  (All: 35%; Millennials: 39%; Gen X: 23%; Boomers: 40%)

 *The Home Depot  (All: 33%; Millennials: 14%; Gen X: 37%; Boomers: 34%)

 *Lowe's  (All: 33%; Millennials: 20%; Gen X: 35 %; Boomers: 33%)

 *eBay  (All: 31%; Millennials: 35%; Gen X: 29%; Boomers: 32%)

 *JCPenney  (All: 29%; Millennials: 33%; Gen X: 11%; Boomers: 38%)

When we asked millionaires how they preferred to shop (searching and researching for what they consider buying) , online searching and researching was preferred by a majority of all three generations (All: 80 %, Millennials: 90%, Gen X: 79%, and Boomers: 75%).

When asked about how they prefer to actually buy what they researched to buy, the preference for online buying declined to 47% among all millionaires, and only the Gen Xers preferred to buy online (65%, compared with 39% of the Millennials and 46% of the Boomers). Millennials and Boomers currently prefer to make their purchases in person in a store (Millennials at 52% and Boomers at 53%), while only a minority of Gen Xers (25%) prefers to buy in person in a store.

Looking forward, our survey will continue to track where and how wealthy consumers shop.

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2 comments about "Where And How The Wealthy (a.k.a. Millionaires) Shop".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , June 4, 2014 at 10:01 a.m.
    The older people get, the more careful with snap purchases even in this affluent category.
  2. Carol Lewis from Riverton Media LLC , June 4, 2014 at 10:41 a.m.
    The missing element in the report is the index of the millionaire target vis-a-vis other income groups. For example, if 80% of all adults shop at Walmart, millionaires index at only 68 (54/80) which means they have a much lower propensity to shop there than the average consumer. And, for example, if 25% of all adults prefer to shop online, millionaires index at 188 (47/25), which means they have a much higher propensity to shop online than the average consumer.