Affluent consumers around the world: More similar than different.

Moods and mindsets converge.

worldwide affluent consumers

As the world becomes more interconnected, it’s having an impact on the mindsets of marketplaces. A confluence of perspectives appears to be happening.

A good case in point is affluent consumers. The idea that rich or affluent people are something of a homogeneous segment was put forth about 10 years ago in Robert Frank’s book Richistan.

The author contended that affluent consumers are united by shared characteristics and shared experiences that are becoming progressively more distinct from middle-class consumers.

In fact, he posited that Affluents had implicitly become their own country (“Richistan”).

Since then, we’ve had a global recession or two … along with social unrest on nearly every continent. Have the sociological trend lines changed?

A recent analysis of results from an Ipsos MediaCT survey of affluent consumers in ~50 countries suggests not.

Commenting on the research findings, author  and journalist Stephen Kraus writes, “Affluents continue to form a globally coherent segment marked by cross-border similarities in attitudes, lifestyles and marketplace preferences … this analysis also finds a remarkably consistent demographic, psychographic and media profile among Affluents around the world.”

Regarding the consumption of media, Ipsos found that affluent consumers are using mobile devices and digital media far more than before – not at all surprising since this segment is also noted for being early adopters of new technologies and products.

But even with the big growth of mobile and digital, Affluents’ use of traditional media has declined only modestly. Overall, the segment is more engaged in media than ever before, with the newer forms of media usage “layered” on top of older ones.

For companies that market “high-end” products and services to the affluent segment, it’s actually becoming easier to apply the same messaging and marketing across multiple countries and cultures – with allowances for language differences being made, of course.

Despite all the convergence that’s happened, some attitudinal qualities of affluent consumes continue to distinguish themselves between different cultures, however. For example, the Ipsos survey found these differing characteristics:

  • Growth in luxury purchases is strongest among affluent consumers in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Latin American affluent consumers are particularly enthusiastic users of social media – and international media in general.
  • American affluent consumers are strong in spending on recreational activities such as golf, tennis and skiing.

And European Affluents?  Well, they’re more subdued in their economic optimism – and their spending – at the moment.


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