Affluents Adopting Technology Infused Lifestyles

"Affluent Consumers in a Digital World," a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau finds the wealthiest American consumers, those in homes with at least $100,000 annual incomes, embracing digital media and its ads.

According to the study, conducted for the IAB by Ipsos Mendelsohn, 98% of affluent consumers use the Internet, as compared with 79% of the general population. They spend 26.2 hours online weekly, 17.6 hours watching TV and 7.5 hours listening to the radio. The general population, on the other hand, spends about twice as much time weekly with TV and radio.

Affluent Media Usage (% of Segment)




General Population

HH Index ≥ $100K

Use the Internet



Average hours weekly

   On Internet



   Watching TV



   Listening to radio



Source: IAB, August 2011

Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President of Industry Services, IAB, notes that "Affluents have long been one of the hardest to reach and most important consumer groups... (but) when it comes to digital media, the old paradigm has been superseded: the wealthiest Americans use digital media far more than their less affluent counterparts."

According to the survey, affluents overall currently comprise 21% of U.S. households, have 70% of all consumer wealth, and spend 3.2 times more than other Americans on purchases. Compared with non-affluent consumers, after viewing digital ads affluent consumers are also somewhat more likely to be aware of:

  • New products (55% vs. 49%)
  • New companies (51% vs. 49%)
  • New websites (46% vs. 44%)

And, 59% of affluent consumers reported taking action based on a digital ad during the preceding six months.

Mane observed that "... the combined reach, exposure and influence of digital as an ad vehicle to affluent households is simply unprecedented."

The receptivity of affluent Americans to digital advertising is underscored by their greater understanding of the ad-supported web model and the benefits of ad targeting:

  • 32% of affluents vs. 23% of non-affluents said they'd be willing to share information about themselves in order to "get a more customized online experience."
  • 72% (vs. 61%) agreed with the statement, "Most websites are free because they are supported by advertising."
  • 57% (vs. 51%) said they would "prefer to see ad-supported online content that is free, rather than paying for content that is ad-free."

Part of what affluent consumers want from that customized experience are ads relevant to their current shopping interests (ie., auto ads if they're ready for a new car, airline ads if they're planning a trip... wherever they may be on the Internet)

Ads Aware Of On Internet (% of Segment)

Household Segment:

HH < $100K

HH ≥ $100K

Ads relevant to current activity in thought



Source: IAB, August 2011

Affluent Americans are twice as likely as the general population to own smartphones (33% vs. 17%), and 79% of the affluent say their lives have become "intertwined with technology" over the past decade. However, they are more likely to say that their lives have become:

  • "more complicated" (59%) and "more stressful" (58%), as opposed to
  • "more fun" (47%) or "easier" (33%)

Bob Shullman, President of Ipsos Mendelsohn, says "... affluent consumers have increasingly come to desire relevant and customized experiences... in part because they are living technology-infused lifestyles...  they have come to expect the benefits of digital media... "

To read more from the review, and access the PDF full summary, please visit here.


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