The wealthy spend more time online and recall digital ads better than the general public, according to a study by Ipsos Mendelsohn for the Internet Advertising Bureau. No surprise here, but the wealthy -- generously defined by the study as households making $100,000 or more per year -- are just 21% of U.S. households, but they now have 70% of all consumer wealth, and spend 3.2 times more than other Americans on purchases.
The survey-based research finds that 98% of affluent consumers use the Internet versus 79% of the general population. Wealthy people also spend 26.2 hours online weekly (versus the 21.7 hours the general population spends online), 17.6 hours watching TV (versus 34 hours for the general public) and 7.5 hours listening to the radio (versus 16 hours by the general public).
Affluent consumers are also much more wired than the rest of us. The study, "Affluent Consumers in a Digital World," is based on an online poll in February of 2,088 adults, half of whom are in households making over $100,000 and about half making less.
Ipsos Mendelsohn says affluent Americans are twice as likely as the general population to own smartphones, and that 79% of the affluent say their lives have become "intertwined with technology" over the past decade.
The study says that since the wealthy spend more time online, they also have better digital ad recall and are more aware of advertised brands, products and services. But the data suggest those differences are minor. For example, according to the study, 88% of affluent consumers recalled being exposed to one or more digital ads during the previous week, compared with 84% of non-affluent Internet users. Within these groups, affluents recalled 21.1 ads on average, versus 20.2 for non-affluents, per the study.
Affluent people are a tad more likely to be aware of new products (55% vs. 49%), new companies (51% vs. 49%), and new websites (46% vs. 44%) after viewing digital ads. The same percentage of affluent consumers as everyone else said they took action based on a digital ad during the preceding six months.
The big difference is that wealthy folk have a better understanding of ad targeting, the virtues of opt-ins and benefits of divulging personal information versus non-affluent consumers because they would prefer customized ads for products and services relevant to their interests.
The study said 32% of affluents versus 23% of non-affluents said they'd be willing to share information about themselves in order to "get a more customized online experience." Nearly three quarters of respondents versus 61% agreed that "most websites are free because they are supported by advertising."
And more than half of affluent consumers said they would "prefer to see ad-supported online content that is free, rather than paying for content that is ad-free."
"Affluent consumers have increasingly come to desire relevant and customized experiences, in part because they are living technology-infused lifestyles," said Bob Shullman, President of Ipsos Mendelsohn, in a statement about the study. "Virtually all the affluent are online. Their ownership of tablets and e-readers has increased by 50 percent over the past six months, and shows every indication of continued growth. They have come to expect the benefits of digital media, even if it doesn't alleviate all work-life pressures."