Study: Tech-Savvy Affluent Males Shop For Selves, Debunking Marketer Assumptions

iProspect, a global digital performance agency, released "The Affluent Male: What His Online Behavior Can Teach Luxury Brand Marketers," a first of its kind report detailing the preferences, behaviors and attitudes of affluent males toward online advertising.

There are 19 million affluent males on the Internet — ages 18 and older with a household income of at least $100,000 — and they are shopping and spending at rates higher than ever before. Forty percent of respondents are shopping online at least twice a week and those who are shopping multiple times are spending in excess of $30,000 annually. Luxury menswear is on the leading edge of this growth trend, growing at a rate of about 14 percent per year. This shift in luxury spending means more opportunities for advertisers to target this growing segment — across all devices.

"The old adage that men hate to shop is being upended by the digital experience. Not only are affluent men shopping online more, but this demographic is doing extensive research, shopping and then purchasing online, which provides advertisers with multiple touch points to reach him. Understanding the habits of the high-end consumer allows iProspect to help our clients develop well-integrated digital campaigns that connect with this audience and deliver results," said Robert Murray, global chief executive officer, iProspect.

iProspect's "The Affluent Male: What His Online Behavior Can Teach Luxury Brand Marketers" study establishes, for the first time, who the affluent male is, his behaviors and preferences towards devices, research and shopping, and how marketers can target and effectively communicate with this audience. The data shows that online shopping is the norm rather than the anomaly for the affluent male. He is connected through multiple devices and is using them for research and purchasing.

An overwhelming preference among affluent males (70 percent) to research and buy online as opposed to researching online and purchasing in store provides unique opportunities for advertisers to capitalize on this audience's behaviors. And while the majority of purchases are still made on PCs, the affluent male is doing more and more research on mobile devices, making a multi-channel approach necessary.
  • The vast majority (91 percent) access a PC at least once daily, while 77 percent have a mobile smartphone and 50 percent own a tablet.
  • Engagement with these devices is high across the board — almost 100 percent of survey respondents report using their PCs and mobile. smartphones at least daily and 85 percent reporting daily use of tablets.
  • When an affluent male has daily access to a tablet, he is 32 percent more likely to have made a purchase via the device.
  • In terms of visibility, 71 percent have seen ads on a PC while one in three have seen ads on a mobile phone or tablet.
"To better serve our luxury client portfolio, iProspect undertook the industry's first in-depth study of the demographic to better understand the affluent male's digital behaviors and preferences," said Andrea Wilson, director of digital strategy, luxury practice lead, iProspect. "We now have a clear view of who he is and how the luxury retail market can best speak to him through the ways he consumes digital content and prefers to shop."

Another important finding is that, contrary to popular marketer assumptions, the affluent male is shopping for himself. Eighty-four percent indicated that they make purchases for themselves. These purchases vary by category, with travel, apparel and accessories, and automobiles being the most searched.

As a savvy and connected consumer, the affluent male has distinct online ad preferences. He wants to see ads that are simple, to-the-point, and have clear and consistent messages. He also has a preference for video and interactive ads, both of which are a great fit for highly visual luxury brands.

More engaged with search than the general public, 96 percent used search to learn more about products. Search ads, especially for mobile devices, remain both relevant and effective. A majority (71 percent) report clicking on sponsored search links "sometimes," "usually," or "always."

"By all indications, this segment has untapped purchasing power which can and will trickle down to non-luxury brands," said Murray. "The best digital marketing strategies integrate practices across all channels. For brand managers, knowing how to effectively communicate to affluent men will a key factor to success in an increasingly digital world."

As this segment continues to grow and evolve, marketers will need to be diligent and apply a holistic approach with consistent messaging, visual storytelling and strategic placements to engage the affluent male consumer.

About iProspect's affluent male study
The study was developed and conducted in partnership with comScore, and included two custom behavioral analyses that were applied to comScore's U.S. panel of affluent males (males, 18+ with a household income of $100,000+) in February 2012. In addition to the self-reported data collected via the survey, comScore tracked website visitation. The cognographic report measured online behaviors for January 2012, and provided a cross-referenced picture of reach percent and reach index for categories and websites/properties.

For a full report of the survey results, including detailed findings, please visit:
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