Study: Affluents Outspend Non-Affluents by 41 Percent in E-commerce

Martini Media shared key findings from its most recent Affluent Online Shopper Index research study powered by comScore. The index measured the behavior and engagement levels of the online affluent audience, and found shopping activity across the wealthiest segments remains comparably strong.

The study is a continuation of an ongoing research series in which Martini Media has partnered with comScore to keep steady track of affluent shopping behaviors. The company's baseline study conducted last holiday season confirmed assumptions that affluent shoppers outspend other segments of consumers during an important time for all retailers.

In examining the overall shopping patterns of all online shoppers during Q1 2013 versus Q4 2012, the study specifically revealed that affluent consumers are both still shopping and further outpacing the shopping activity of non-affluent shoppers, whose activity diminished after the holiday season.

In fact, affluent consumers were 47 percent more likely than those earning under $100k to make an online purchase in Q1 2013, and on average, they spent 41 percent more on purchases. The gap between affluent and non-affluent spending grew in 2013 compared to the December holiday period, when affluent consumers were 31 percent more likely to buy and spent only 15 percent more than their non-affluent counterparts.

The gap is even greater on luxury retail sites, where three out of four affluent consumers are more likely to make a purchase. Additionally, affluent consumers spent an average of $184 per purchase on these sites, which is more than half of what those earning under $100k spent.

These gaps were much smaller during the holidays, when affluent users were 47 percent more likely to buy on a luxury site and spent only 25 percent more. Additionally in Q1 2013, affluent consumers were seven percent more likely to visit luxury retail sites and made 16 percent more visits per visitor than those earning under $100k.

"The affluent audience can consistently be found online for both work and play," said Skip Brand, CEO of Martini Media. "This study demonstrates how steady the digital affluent footprint is throughout the year, whereas other segments' spending wanes after the holiday period. Brand success is dependent on focusing digital ad dollars toward the affluent audience and effectively reaching and engaging them online."

The Martini Media Affluent Online Shopper Index powered by comScore measured behaviors and engagement levels of the online affluent audience (HHI $100K+) by indexing (1) affluent users (across the Internet) against non-affluent online users (HHI < $100K) to provide a precise picture of how this coveted segment shops, spends and searches online during Q1 2013.

It leverages comScore's passively measured online panel of one million U.S. Internet users to detail online shopping, search and site visitation data for the affluent audience.

"While the holiday season spurs gains in e-commerce spending across income segments, affluent consumers also exhibit strong online spending patterns throughout the year," said Kent Parmington, manager, comScore. "This study highlights the overall significance of affluents to the e-commerce sector, and helps demonstrate why it's important for brands -- and particularly luxury brands -- to connect with them effectively."

The study also found that affluent spending indexed especially high in the apparel, accessories and jewelry, general services, and event and movie tickets categories, which is consistent with the previous holiday data. In Q1, the affluent spent on average:
  • $171 on event and movie tickets
  • $163 on apparel, accessories and jewelry
  • $155 on electronics and computing
  • $122 on home and living
  • $113 on general services.
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