Stephen KrausMember since June 2011Contact Stephen
- Chief Insights Officer Ipsos MediaCT
- 49 Stevenson St
- San Francisco California
- 94105 USA
Stephen Kraus is Chief Insights Officer of Ipsos MediaCT, and author of three books on success and affluence in America. Steve has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.
Articles by Stephen All articles by Stephen
- Affluent Summer Travel Outlook Findings Are Encouraging in
Affluent interest in summer vacations has hit a new high, buoyed by the strengthening economy and a broader trend toward experiences, according to our April 2015 barometer. Sixty-three percent of Affluents (defined as the ~25% of adults with $100,000 or more in annual household income, or HHI) are planning a trip this summer, the highest figure in the four years we have been producing a summer travel outlook. Intentions are even higher among more elite consumers - 72% of Ultra Affluents ($250K+ HHI) are planning a vacation this summer.
- Expansion Without Dilution: The Affluent Population Grows In Size And Spending Power in
This morning we released the 2014 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, marking our 38th consecutive year of exploring the lives, lifestyles and media habits of Affluent Americans. The results reflect a number of encouraging developments and growth opportunities for media and marketers interested in Affluents.
- The Influencer Economy in
As we explore how Affluents make media choices and purchase decisions, we are consistently struck by the importance of word-of-mouth and personal recommendations from others. In fact, across many of the categories we examined, recommendations from friends or family are consistently among the most frequently cited factors shaping marketplace decisions.
- Growth Opportunities In The Growing Leisure Economy in
Recently, I wrote about Affluents "rising up the hierarchy of needs" - increasing their discretionary spending as their economic anxiety and the fear of unemployment ease. We've seen spending increases in specific areas such as travel and sports equipment, as well as broader marketplace trends suggesting a growing interest in leisure, luxury and experiences.
- Rise In Spending Crucial To Driving Growth Across The Board in
The latest government data confirm that Affluent spending is on the rise, and crucial to driving growth in many marketplace categories.
- A Global Perspective: Moods & Mindsets Of Affluents Around The World in
In his excellent book Richistan, Robert Frank detailed how millionaires in the mid-2000s had implicitly become a country (or at least a relatively homogeneous market segment), united by shared experiences and characteristics, and increasingly distinct from middle-class consumers. In my own book, I similarly referred to wealthy consumers as "globizens," or global citizens, whose international mindsets and international connections fostered an elite community that transcended borders.
- Affluents Rising Up The Hierarchy Of Needs in
As unemployment fears ease, Affluents are increasingly "rising up" the hierarchy of needs, and bringing a new mindset to the marketplace.
- Affluent Entering 2014 Focused On Momentum And Growth in
For more than two millennia, people have used the New Year as a time to reflect back on lessons and accomplishments from the previous year, and to plan for the year ahead. In fact, the month January takes its name from Janus, the Roman god of doorways and beginnings, whose two heads allowed him to look backward and forward simultaneously. In the spirit of Janus, I'll use this month's column for looking back on Affluent life in 2013, and projecting ahead to the key trends likely to frame the discussion of Affluent lives in 2014.
- Affluents' Lifestyles Are Technology-enabled And Media-infused in
Affluent lifestyles today are technology-enabled and media-infused. In recent years, their ownership of mobile devices went from niche to mainstream with unprecedented speed, and their overall use of digital media continues to rise.
- Signs Pointing To A Happy Holiday Season in
'Tis shaping up to be a good holiday season for Affluent-focused brands. At least that's the suggestion from our October 2013 Affluent Barometer, which finds Affluent interest in holiday travel and holiday spending significantly ahead of last year.
Comments by Stephen All comments by Stephen
- Details About Digital Devices: How Affluents Use Smartphone And Tablets
Hi Edmund, Thanks for your question. 18% of Affluent smartphone owners read a blog on their phone in the past 30 days. For tablet owners, the comparable figure is 19%. I hope that helps! Best, Steve
- The Mood Lightens
Thanks for the great comments, all. I would agree that semantics can cause confusion on this issue. We use pretty straightforward operational definitions for Affluent ($100K+ HHI), Ultra Affluent ($250K+ HHI) and Wealthy ($500K+ HHI). [It’s worth pointing out the average income in each segment is about twice the threshold for entry – e.g., average income among Ultra Affluents is a little over $500K]. But some people use the term “affluent” to mean the “best target for high-end luxury” or “those who live a consistent luxury lifestyle”. Thinking about luxury circa 2006, in our terminology, Affluents (at the time, widely called Mass Affluents) were the “aspirational luxury shoppers” who drove the market. As the recession hit, luxury marketers have done well by focusing more upscale, on more traditional luxury targets such as Ultra Affluents and the Wealthy. For reference, the Wealthy, defined as $500K+ HHI, have an average income of nearly $1 million, and a net worth of nearly $4 million, which would start to put you in the market for truly elite offerings in many categories. So when people say something to the effect of “$100K+ HHI isn’t affluent,” I would tend to agree if their meaning is something along the lines of “$100K+ HHI is not the best target for high-end luxury.”
- The Mood Lightens
Thank you, Judith and Paula, for your interest and your comments. One note about the definition of “Affluent”: we have historically defined “Affluent” as the top 20% of the US in terms of household income, which today translates as $100K+ in annual household income (at least on a national basis – $100K+ HHI puts you in the top 40% or so if you live in NYC or, like me, in San Francisco). We often segment the population in terms of Affluent ($100K+ HHI), Ultra Affluent ($250K+ HHI) and Wealthy ($500K+ HHI). You are certainly correct that “Affluents” (sometimes described as “mass Affluents”) are mostly occasional and aspirational in their luxury interest. For truly high-end offerings – such as something from Tiffany, or a private jet, or multi-million dollar vacation homes – Affluents are not the primary target for most brands. For offerings like that, a much more high-end target is needed.
- How Affluent Americans Feel About Income Inequality And Wealth Concentration
Thanks everybody for their comments and questions. To clarify, we define "Affluent" as individuals living in households with at least $100K+ in annual household income. That's about 58.5 million people -- about 21% of the population that holds 70% of the net worth and earns 60% of the income. But as you rightly point out, that hardly puts one on "easy street" these days. And in places like New York (or where I live, San Francisco), it's 35-40% of the population. We do also examine those with $250K+ HHI -- about 2-3% of the population, and the start of the "core" market for luxury. They skew more conservative and less enthuasistic about taxes on higher-income Americans. Next month we plan to have a report with a deeper examination of the $250K+ HHI group.
- Shullman Retiring As Ipsos Mendelsohn Prez, Succession Plan Unveiled
Bob Shullman is a class act. He is a scholar and a gentleman whose thoughtfulness and leadership have been appreciated by clients, co-workers and colleagues for more than 30 years. Best wishes to Bob and his family.