There's no better proof against the idea that affluent consumers all behave alike than the difference between affluent moms of kids under 18 and affluent women without kids. A new study of affluent moms based on data from Ipsos Mendelsohn's affluence surveys shows that affluent women with kids behave a lot more like the rest of us -- although maybe on a larger scale -- than do their peers without kids.
The numbers are also large: the firm says that of 15.6 million heads of households with incomes of at least $100,000 and ages 18 to 54, 60% have kids under 18.
The study, which comprises surveys of 4,500 women, reveals that affluent women with children report traveling ten percentage points less than those without; they are also less likely to own a second home or luxury car, or to travel abroad by air or visit a spa. For example, 20% of child-free wealthy women reported owning a luxury car versus 15% of those with kids. Seventy-two percent of women without kids took an airline trip in the past year versus 64% of those with kids.
Affluent women with kids, however, were more likely to visit museums, the ballet, movies and sports events. And far more likely -- no surprise -- to go to a theme park. They were also far more likely to own an SUV or minivan.
Donna Sabino, SVP of kids and family insights at Ipsos OTX MediaCT U.S., says this is the first time the affluence data from Ipsos has been parsed to break out affluent women with children under 18 versus those with no children.
"Initially, we were not sure there were going to be any differences," she says. "I come out of advertising, where you think in terms of targets -- say, 25-to-54 -- more than psychological definers. You don't think, for example, about how having a child under 18 impacts across product categories; stereotypically, you don't think of an affluent woman shopping at Kmart or Walmart."
But they do, and, per Sabino, the large size of the data set makes even small differences by percentage statistically significant. While 86% of respondents who are affluent women without kids said they shop at Target, 93% of those with kids say they shop there. There is similar six-percentage-point difference for Sears; a five-percentage-point spread for JC Penney; and a two-percentage-point spread for the Home Depot (81% for those without kids versus 83% for those with).
People with children under 18 also had a slightly higher propensity to visit an Apple store, says Sabino, who adds that the behavior begs the question concerning who is driving the retail visits -- parents or kids.
"Is it that moms are appreciating the value of Apple products -- where you can take care of so many chores on a to-do list on, say, an iPhone, while driving kids to soccer practice -- or is the kid saying, 'Mom, the kind of computer we use at school is an Apple, so I want to be an Apple computer owner.'"
Sabino says if there is one overarching theme, it's that the real motivating lens was driven by the presence of kids. "It isn't surprising to see them going to club stores, Walmart -- and the presence of these kids really does influence their shopping and where they shop; it gives them permission to go to these place because the stores have the products kids want."