'Emerging Affluent' Are Key Digital Consumers

  • by May 25, 2011
As a consumer's affluence increases, so do factors such as early adoption of new digital devices, consumption of digital content and usage of mobile devices, according to a study conducted by Publicis/ Vivaki agency Digitas in partnership with research company Ipsos Mendelsohn.

But digital marketers might want to keep a special eye on those not yet affluent, but headed there -- dubbed the "emerging affluent" and "universally digital."

Digitas pointed to a changing "affluent landscape" in America. It found that what used to be called the "mass affluent" market -- with annual household incomes between $100,000 and $199,000 -- "has disappeared." These households, Digitas said, have lost their leveraged spending power, been forced to live on income alone, and mostly consider themselves middle-class.

They've given way to two groups with spending power: the truly affluent and the up-and-coming affluent. The former, the "class affluent," earns between $200,000 and $1 million annually, with most considering themselves upper-middle class.

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The latter is the "emerging affluent." Members of this group earn the same income as the mass affluent group did, but they are under 35 years of age. Plus, they have "intensely digital media behavior."

Emerging affluent consumers, Digitas said, work in careers that will eventually deliver affluence (i.e., financial services, legal services, engineering). They consider themselves opinion leaders, follow trends, love to travel, are passionate about food and dining, and purchase both stylish youth-oriented brands like Scion, Diesel, and Samsung and true luxury brands, such as H. Stern, Tiffany, St. Ives and D&G.

Most importantly, they "use mobile devices for communicating, consuming content, enjoying music, and gaming. They use social networks and blogs, and they prefer apps to 411 to research restaurants, recommend products, or get deals from marketers."

Geographically, the highest concentration of the emerging affluent group was found to be in the Midwest.

The primary quantitative source for the study, titled "Affluence in America: The New Consumer Landscape," was the Mendelsohn Affluence Survey conducted in March. Digitas said it then sought signs of affluence, based on a range of lifestyle behaviors, and proceeded to identify the tiers of affluence.

Once the affluence hierarchy was established, Digitas said it mined the data further for source of income, attitudes, purchasing patterns and media usage.

4 comments about "'Emerging Affluent' Are Key Digital Consumers".
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  1. Tiffany Jonas from Aio Design, LLC, May 26, 2011 at 9:35 a.m.

    This is quite an astounding sentence from Digitas:

    > It found that what used to be called the "mass affluent" market -- with annual household incomes between $100,000 and $199,000 -- "has disappeared."

    Census data doesn't show that people with annual household incomes between $100,000 and $199,000 have been reduced to a population of zero. How did Digitas come to this conclusion in the face of such data?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, May 26, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.

    Isn't there a difference between disappeared and disappearing?

  3. Andrew Fischer from Choozle, May 26, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.

    "Emerging affluent" is a very apt categorization of a key demographic group. Having come of age in the age of the Internet, it is no surprise that they are "intensely digital" and are opinion leaders, follow trends, love to travel, and are passionate about food and dining. This should be a key target for any advertiser looking to grow their brand now, and beyond as these consumers income and influence will only be rising. At the RGM Alliance, we provide unique advertising packages that efficiently reach these consumers while engaged in premier content on quality sites. Check us out at: www.RGMAlliance.com

  4. Mitch Bernstein from Ogilvy, July 18, 2011 at 11:44 a.m.

    I'm most intrigued by the fact that anybody is buying the Plymouth brand in 2011! Wasn't that killed off a decade ago?

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