May 18, 2011

Young Affluents Ditch Traditional Media

Print readership still high among affluents overall

Affluents’ relationship with traditional media is a bit of a mixed bag, according to February 2011 data released by The Affluence Collaborative. And among the younger members of the wealthy set, that mix may be turning more negative than positive.

On the one hand, affluent internet users are still big fans of print media. More than 20% of those with incomes of at least $500,000 spent 11 or more hours per week reading newspapers. This compared with just 6% of the general population. Affluents with incomes between $200,000 to $500,000 landed in between, at 9.1%.

Affluents’ consumption of magazines also outstrips that of the general population. According to the same survey, 22% of affluent internet users earning $500,000 or more read magazines for 11 or more hours per week, contrasted with 4.5% of the general population. Only 11.5% of those affluents “rarely or never” read magazines, while more than 30% of the general population said the same. As above, affluents with incomes of $200,000 to $500,000 fell in between the two extremes.

Television is a different story. Affluents show a much lighter consumption pattern than the general population. Nearly 40% of the general population watched 21 or more hours per week of television in February 2011, compared with 21.5% of the highest-income respondents. More than 40% of affluents in both groups watch 10 or fewer hours of television a week, compared with 26.5% of the general population.

According to April 2011 data from the Luxury Institute, high-net-worth millennials (ages 35 and under) are replacing both television and print with digital media faster than their older financial peers. Their combined average weekly time spent with online video (1 hour 40 minutes) and DVR (3 hours 47 minutes) was greater than the 4 hours 49 minutes spent watching live TV. Watching online video (78%) was more popular among wealthy millennials than reading magazines (76%) or newspapers (68%).

“This is clearly a tipping point,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “The rising generation of wealthy consumers [are] consuming media in vastly different ways than anyone did just a decade ago.”

Luxury marketing requires a balancing act, straddling old and new media. Targeting affluent internet users means meeting both the expectations of an older audience still heavily dependent on print, while reaching out online to the next generation of affluents who are going all-digital.

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