Commentary

Online Shopping With The Affluents

It has long been assumed that affluent shoppers prefer shopping online, while their lower-income counterparts prefer the brick-and-mortar outlets. While this is sometimes true in the big picture, there are multiple shades of grey, especially in what they buy, how they shop, and what they value as they shop. And as internet shopping grows in sophistication and scope, there are a few important ways to keep focused on affluents’ unique flavor of online shopping behavior.

Convenience Is Nuanced

Affluent shoppers view convenience very differently than those with lower incomes. For them, convenience means being able to shop anywhere, whether it’s at home, work, at dinner, or on a family outing. It’s not about the ability to shop at home versus a store. Moreover, the definition of convenience has come to mean more than just simply being able to shopping wherever they see fit. Convenience also includes purchase drivers such as exemplary customer service, strong personalization, and the opportunity to co-create.

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Deliberation Means Saving

Making impulse purchases in anathema to affluent online shoppers. They like to take their time, research everything they can, seek opinions of their social networks, and then compare prices across the web. Everything is deliberate, with the intention of ultimately making the purchase at the best possible deal. This, of course, connotes their desire for value in addition to price, but don’t think that affluent online shoppers aren’t price conscious. The thrill of having found the very best deal is a critical emotional benefit to the process.

Category Matters

Higher-income online shoppers tend to favor specific categories for their online shopping expeditions, including household goods, personal care, and electronics. They are also prone to the showrooming and webrooming phenomena, wherein they will view things in stores or online, respectively, before making the decision to purchase in the opposite venue. Gifts, clothes, shoes, and fragrances — products that require less researching — index high among affluents, indicating showrooming tendencies. And categories like financial products, cars, and certain high-end electronics are more often researched and compared online, with purchases happening in a store.

Privacy Is Critical 

Close to 70% of affluents say they would prefer to be anonymous while online. This is partially because they spend over two hours a day online, and they want to maintain their privacy and security. GlobalWebIndex reports that 55% of them have recently used an ad-blocker, while just under half are deleting their cookies and using anti-tracking tools.

1 comment about "Online Shopping With The Affluents".
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  1. Ron Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, May 18, 2016 at 12:10 p.m.

    This contains a number of very interesting opinions. I wonder how many of the opinions are based on good survey research, as some seem contrary to what might be expected. 

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