Affluence Is In The Eyes Of The Advertisers And Their Agencies

Last month, I explored the meaning of the words “luxury” and “luxurious” from the consumers’ points of view. That review generated some fascinating feedback from interested readers and clients regarding which media channels are the most engaging in reaching those affluent consumers who are more likely to buy luxuries or luxurious products and services, compared with those who are more considered to be “mass” consumers. In that regard, our ongoing, insights-oriented survey differs from others as it allows its users to define their target markets as they see fit. This is by design, since we have repeatedly heard from advertisers and their agencies that there is no universal definition of affluence, demographically or otherwise. Some luxury-oriented advertisers use a broad definition of affluence and target those adults who live in households with household incomes of $75,000 or more (the top 39% of all American adults), while other advertisers target adults in the $250,000+ household-income segment (the top 3% of adults), and some even target the top 1% of adults ($500,000+ household incomes).

In our latest survey wave, we asked two questions that we believe provide useful insights for advertisers and their agencies to consider as they determine where and how to engage their target markets of higher-income adults with meaningful messages. The first question relates to the media platforms on which consumers saw or heard advertising in the past 30 days, while the second assesses consumers’ level of interest in the advertising they saw or heard on these specific media platforms. 

Of the 21 media platforms we asked about in our survey, some currently reach very small audiences, so this review focuses only on those 13 media platforms that generally reach at least one out of five (20%) adults in the three affluent market segments included in this review (household incomes of $75,000+, $250,000+, and $500,000+). Notably, as shown in the following exhibit, even though digital media is a major focus of virtually all advertisers and their agencies today and websites are high on the list, the well-known, traditional media (television, magazines, radio, newspapers, and direct mail) currently are also very likely to reach affluent consumers no matter how they are defined.

As is noted in the following exhibit, when we then review affluent consumers’ level of interest in the advertising they saw or heard on the 13 different media platforms included in this review, for all three affluent market segments profiled, the top three platforms are traditional ones — magazines, television, and newspapers. As we also expected, the digital media platforms are clearly important, and we suspect they will become much more important to advertisers and their agencies as the media landscape continues to evolve.

Looking forward, our ongoing survey will continue to track consumers’ usage of the many media platforms now available to affluent consumers, however they are defined, and the new media platforms that will continue to emerge as well as consumers’ level of interest in the advertising that those platforms deliver.

1 comment about "Affluence Is In The Eyes Of The Advertisers And Their Agencies".
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  1. James Webb from Massive Strategy, June 5, 2013 at 12:55 p.m.

    Interesting data. I don't see many major differences between the three groups, which suggests the level of affluence is not highly relevant. Thanks.

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