What The Modern Shopper Looks Like

The affluent consumer has come a long way in the 21st century. Today’s big spender is a working executive who is always on the go, which leaves little time for full-day shopping trips on Madison Avenue. While these shoppers still occasionally enjoy going into Nordstrom’s, the reality is that they are probably researching first before they go shopping or buying online in between meetings.

According to a recent study we did with comScore, affluent shoppers spent 20% more on luxury brand sites than those earning less than $100,000 per year. In addition, the research found that 92% of affluent earners made an online purchase in Q4 2013, compared to only 72% of those earning less than $100,000 a year.

These consumers are active early adopters who are on the go and multitasking between devices depending on the time of day or day of the week. These high-end shoppers might do research on their phones while in a store and then make a purchase on their tablet before they go to bed at night. These consumers are reading online reviews and checking out what their friends on social media think. 



However, despite evolutions in consumer behavior, luxury marketers are slow to evolve their messaging to reach this new audience. While most affluent consumers are shopping online, print still accounts for almost 90% of media spend among luxury marketers, according to a recent study produced by UM, a division of IPG Mediabrands. Marketers are clearly living in the past and spending too much money in legacy channels without taking advantage of reaching this new wave of affluent consumers. 

While they are a little late to the table, there is a huge opportunity for luxury brands to further engage with their best prospects by bringing digital marketing into the mix. Marketers shouldn’t abandon print altogether, but instead should look more carefully at the balance between media campaigns and make sure that they are paying attention to digital. The most successful marketers use a more diversified approach that includes investment in online video, sponsorships and native elements. 

Digital allows marketers to send their brand messages at scale to a very targeted audience of affluent shoppers wherever that shopper maybe – on the move or at home. Digital ads are proving to be as visually attractive and more engaging than other traditional media. Our research reveals that affluent shoppers prefer visual content and video to navigate and engage with products. In fact, image galleries and videos account for a 76% increase in ad engagement among this audience.

Marketers can achieve cross-channel synergy by providing consistent messaging and a good user experience across devices. Even though these devices work differently, the outcome is the same. Consumers expect the same experience, no matter how they interact with a brand. In addition, it is more important than ever for brands to have a singular voice in the marketplace because the working affluent are so inundated with messaging. If marketers make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for, they are more likely to simply ignore the message. 

With an active lifestyle and a full calendar, these affluent shoppers are busy people. Luxury marketers have an opportunity to reach these high-end shoppers by making it easy for them to indulge themselves on any device.

2 comments about "What The Modern Shopper Looks Like".
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  1. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, May 5, 2014 at 2:04 p.m.

    I don't mean to pick a fight with Tom, but this column is an example of why market research surveys are often dismissed as being of questionable value.

    This column contains a number of generalities that seem to reflect a biased perspective on the part of the author.

    This bias is reflected in the first paragraph (with the references to "buying between meetings" and Madison Avenue), given that America's "big spenders" are not exclusively executives that work or live in Manhattan.

    Second there is an implication that the affluent shoppers are those with an income over $100K, when $200K will not go far for a family living in a major metro area on the east or west coast.

    I could go on with several more examples, but I encourage marketers to be careful about distinguishing between opinions based simply on personal experience, research to support a pre-determined agenda, and/or anecdotal research rather than strong, objective research.

  2. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, May 5, 2014 at 4:51 p.m.

    Agreed, Ron. And the second paragraph seems to say: "Those with more money tend to spend more at luxury sites than those who earn less". Perhaps useful to confirm. But nothing that points toward action to make profit here.

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