America's 67.5 Million Affluents Garner 60% Of U.S. HH Income In 23% Of U.S. Households

According to the recently released 2014 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, the Affluent population in the United States grew 8% from 2013, to 67.5 million adults, compounding the 6% growth seen the previous year (“Affluents:” approximately 23% of US households with adults aged 18+ with at least $100,000 in annual household income). This segment spends $2.0 trillion annually across a range of products and services. The report says that Affluents are early adopters and heavy users of technology, as well as heavy consumers of traditional media whose readership of print publications is essentially unchanged from a year ago.

American Affluents Past Year Consumer Expenditures (Adults in Households with ≥ $100K Annual Income)


Expenditure ($Billions)

Share of Total Spend




Personal insurance



Home and garden



Education expenses









Apparel, accessories, eyewear



Computers, electronics, home entertainment



Charitable donations



Leisure, entertainment & dining



Personal care & wellness






Alcoholic beverages



Watches, jewelry, fine writing instruments



Skin care, cosmetics & fragance






Source: Ipsos,  September 2014

While the size of the Affluent population expanded, their average income and spending levels were largely unchanged or ahead of previous years, says the report. Dr. Stephen Kraus, Chief Insights Officer, says “ There are five million more Affluent adults compared to a year ago, earning and spending at the same or greater levels. On an aggregate basis, market sizes and media audiences are up across the board as a result.”

Signs of growth are evident in all major financial metrics, including spending, income and liquid assets:

  • Spending by the Affluent population across 158 measured categories rose to $2 trillion for the first time in the survey’s 38 year history. Averave spending level per Affluent fell slightly from 2013 to 2014, but remained well ahead of 2012 and 2011 levels. Median spending rose 2% in 2014, building on a 4% increase the year before
  • Average household income among Affluents in 2014 was $197,400, down 1% from 2013, but still 5% ahead of levels seen in 2011 and 2012. Median income rose for the fourth consecutive year
  • Liquid assets rose 7% to an average of $592K, compounding the 9% growth seen from 2012 to 2013. Affluent average net worth rose 1% to $1.02 million, while median net worth rose 3%

The study also documents how Affluent lives are intertwined with technology. For example, among Affluents:

  • 88% visited one of 12 measured social networks in the previous week, led by Facebook, which was visited by 70% of Affluents for an average of 5.7 hours
  • 64% paid bills with a computer, smartphone or tablet in the past 30 days
  • 58% use an iPhone or iPad, up from 53% in 2013
  • 48% now personally own a tablet, up from 9% in 2011, and 77% now have a tablet in the household
  • 47% have a TV connected to the Internet, 23% own a smart TV, and 23% have a TV connected to a digital media receiver or streaming device – figures up significantly from 2013
  • Half of smartphone and tablet owners made a purchase on their device in the past year
  • 10 million Affluents now have a mobile payment/wallet app, an increase of 49% from 2013

Ownership of mobile devices and the consumption of digital media continue to rise, while the use of traditional media is highly similar to previous years, demonstrating that traditional media are alive and integral to Affluent lives, says the report. The number of Affluents who read a print publication rose 6% to 53.5 million; the total duplicated average-issue audience (AIA) also rose 6%, to 219.2 million.

On an individual level, print publication readership remains highly similar to 2013; 79% of Affluents read one of the 140 reported print publications (133 magazines and 7 national newspapers), down slightly from 81% in 2013; Affluent readers averaged reading 16.6 print publication issues from 7.4 titles, unchanged from 2013.

Kraus says “Digital media use continues to grow, and traditional media use has changed much less than many people expected. Consumption of new media is supplementing, not supplanting, traditional media use – and the result is a net increase in Affluents’ overall engagement with media.”

Affluents are found to be highly-engaged shoppers across platforms and categories. While many shop at luxury retailers, huge numbers of Affluents shop in mainstream outlets as well, with the most widely shopped retailers being

  • Amazon (74% shopping in the past year)
  • Target (72%)
  • Walmart (69%)

The three retailers who saw their Affluent shopper base rise are also diverse in their appeal and spanned the retail spectrum, eBay, Etsy and Ulta. Affluents. In automotive, many Affluents drive luxury automobiles, but the most widely owned vehicle brands among Affluents are mainstream:

  • Ford (25%)
  • Toyota (24%)
  • Honda (21%)
  • Chevrolet (19%)

The Affluent population is diverse not only in its shopping habits, but in its generational and cultural composition as well. While Baby Boomers are the single largest generation within the Affluent population (38%), a generational changing is well underway, as Gen Xers (33%) and Millennials (22%) combine to well outnumber Boomers.

African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians each comprise 6-8% of the Affluent population; in addition, 17% of Affluents speak a non-English language at home, and 11% were born outside the U.S.

According to the report, the “Wealthy” (1.9 million adults with at least $500,000 in annual household income) spend an average of 2.3 times more than Affluents as across 158 measured categories. And, says the report, the Wealthy are also particularly heavy consumers of media, spending 29% more time online, and reading 54% more print publication issues than Affluents. 21% of the Wealthy speak a non-English language at home, and 15% were born outside the U.S., figures higher than in the Affluent population.

Summarizing the conclusions, Evan Borak, Senior Vice President of Ipsos MediaCT, and Head of its Audience Measurement Group, says “… the Affluent population has grown…  lifting marketplace spending and media audiences with it… Affluent spending is crucial to the health of both luxury and mass brands, across retailers and across platforms… “

The survey uses a random probability sample drawn from address-based sample frame to ensure the results are projectable to the population of America’s 67.5 million Affluents. Ipsos analyses show that Affluents garner 60% of U.S. household income, and hold 69% of U.S. net worth in 23% of U.S. households.

For more highlights from the Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, please visit here.


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