Coming off a politically divisive and uncertain 2016, affluent Americans feel the coming year will be good for them, personally and economically.
In a webinar summarizing its Affluent Trends Survey (which culled survey data from more than 24,000 consumers collected in the first week of January 2017), Ipsos found about three-quarters of affluent Americans (those with a household income of $125,000 or more) felt 2017 would be good for their family (77%) and themselves personally (73%). Nearly as many (68%) felt it would be good for their careers. More than half (57%) were optimistic about the economy -- reaching the highest levels the company has seen since 2010, said Steve Kraus, Ipsos’ chief insights officer, U.S. “Affluents are seeing this year year as strong as we’ve seen in quite some time,” Kraus said.
Overall, affluent Americans are bullish on the year to come, with some reservations, Kraus said. About 4 out of 5 (79%) said they viewed the glass as “half full” when thinking about the year ahead, with some realism. Half said they were unconcerned about losing their job in the coming year, although a third said an economic downturn could be troubling professionally. Only 2% felt their jobs could be threatened by immigrants.
Despite the relative optimism for the year, affluents “feel less wealthy than they actually are,” Kraus said. While affluents account for the top 25% of the country’s population, they feel like they re only in the top 38%, he said -- leaving a gap to what they feel being well-off might look or feel like. On average, affluents felt they’d need to add about another $111,000 to their annual household income to spend more consistently on luxury products. “They’re not at a place where they can buy luxury across the board,” he said.
As such, affluents will likely continue the trend of purchasing experiences over products. About a third (34%) said they will spend more on vacation travel (vs. 8% who said they would spend less). They’ll also be spending more time and money on parts of their lives they feel they can control, such as developing hobbies and spiritual endeavors and improving their well-being. Much of that sentiment can be traced to the changing governmental administration and what that might bring, Kraus said.
“In a world of uncertainty, they’ll try to focus on the things they can control,” he said. “Products and services that offer that will do well.”
Finally, taking a break from the divisive and contentious climate, many affluents said they would be changing their media habits: 22% said they’d be following less political news in 2017; 31% said they’d spend less time on social media and 33% said they’d be following less celebrity news. “It remains to be seen if that’s a stated aspiration that they want to follow through on or something they will follow through on,” Kraus said.