One-fifth of U.S. households, 24 million to be exact, holds approximately 60% of total U.S. household wealth and 70% of total U.S. consumer wealth. Defined by Ipsos Mendelsohn as the "affluents," these 24 million households have an annualized income of $100,000 or more. This group is two times more likely to buy consumer products and services and when they do, they spend over three times as much as their less economically fortunate counterparts.
It's said that bad news comes in threes. If you're marketing to affluent consumers, this old saw holds true. Unity Marketing, Ispos-Mendlesohn, and Bank of America have all checked in recently with data that show affluent consumers are as uneasy about the economic future as any other consumer segment. It's hardly time to pull back on affluent marketing, but it is time to adjust the message.
Conducted in the midst of the debt ceiling negotiations, we found that only 34% of Affluents were optimistic about the U.S. economy going forward, down from 49% just two months ago, and down substantially from the most recent high of 57% in December 2010 (when it was buoyed by the bipartisan agreement to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits). Even more telling, it is the lowest in the two-and-half-year history of our Affluent Barometer, and by extension the two years since the recession "officially" ended.
I'm predicting that 2012 will be The Year of the (Men's) Watch as I find women's watches to be a little "sissy" and look forward to seeing the tsunami of new styles that will be launched in the coming months.