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The Digital Consumer -- The Survey is Out and Says it All

September 2011
By Marlee Rosen

In order to explore how affluent America views and uses digital media, High Tech Veiws partnered with IAB and Ipsos Mendelsohn, an independent research firm that is the preeminent source for knowledge about affluent lifestyles, media use and product usage.

Who are the affluent Americans? They are the 21% of U.S. households that have a minimum $100,000 annual income or the top fifth of the country. They represent 70% of U.S. consumer wealth.

The IAB Custom Study conducted by Ipsos Mendelsohn indicates that with digital media, the conventional wisdom about affluents and media use is turned completely upside-down. Affluents are typically the hardest-to-reach, lightest users of media. However, they are the heaviest users of digital media. 
This represents a new paradigm for brands, products and services that seek deeper relationships with affluent consumers. Because affluent consumers’ spending power far exceeds that of most Americans, a paradigm shift has implications beyond the luxury and/or upscale markets.

Specifically, the research reveals:

  • Generally the hardest to reach consumers via traditional media such TV and radio, affluents are the heaviest users of digital media, far outpacing non-affluents in Internet use.
  • Digital advertising is essentially ubiquitous and most consumers – affluent and otherwise – recall seeing 15-20 digital ads each week. Affluent consumers view and recall more digital ads.
  • Digital advertising is widely accepted by modern consumers with widespread understanding of the ad-supported free content model and a clear preference for ad-supported free content over paying for ad-free content.
  • Affluents prefer relevant advertising and are more likely than the general population to share personal information in exchange for a personalized online experience.
  • Affluents see their lives as intertwined with technology. They are more likely than the general population to own smart phones and the majority report ownership of a number of other digital devices.
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