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Affluent Consumers Continue Spending

Attribute it to an improving economy, or simply fatigue in behaving a certain way, but the days of well-to-do consumers reportedly hiding their blue Tiffany bags in plastic Target bags are just about over. 

According to the most recent Affluent Online Shopper Index, affluent shoppers (those who make more than $100,000 a year) continue to outspend other segments in the first quarter of this year. 

“We definitely are seeing a huge increase in what the affluent are spending than [at the beginning of the recession],” Michael Goldberg, senior director of marketing communications for Martini Media, the agency behind the study, tells Marketing Daily. “As time goes by, those thoughts die fast. People go back to their normal way of doing things.”

According to the most recent index, which tracked spending through the first quarter of 2013, the gap between affluent and non-affluent spending widened from the fourth quarter of 2012. In the most recent survey, affluent consumers were 47% more likely to make an online purchase and spent 41% more on those purchases than non-affluent consumers. Comparatively, in the fourth quarter of 2012, which included the holiday spending, affluent consumers were 31% more likely to make and online purchase and were only spending 15% more than non-affluents.

While many might assume the most spending would come on big-ticket purchases, the category getting the most dollars was event and movie tickets, which saw an average of $171 in spending, followed by jewelry, apparel and accessories  ($163), electronics and computer ($155), home and living ($122) and general services ($113). 

Measuring the online shopping habits of affluent consumers underscores how much technology has influenced everyone’s online shopping habits, Goldberg says. “Everyone always thinks of affluents as older and not digitally connected,” he says. “If anything, the affluent are more connected. It may not be at a desktop, but with tablets and smartphones, they’re connecting anywhere.”

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