The Good News and Bad News About High-End Home Brand Consumers

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There are more affluent consumers, but they are harder than ever to find.

 

I’ve noticed a fascinating contradiction occurring within the affluent consumer base.

  • On one hand, the number of affluent Americans is growing. There were 53,000 more millionaire households in the U.S. last year, compared to the year prior.
  • On the other hand, their elusiveness is growing, too. It’s simply becoming harder and harder to find them.

That makes an interesting challenge for marketers of high-end brands. After all, how are you supposed to sell things to people if you can’t find them?

The Wall Street Journal  recently reported on the growing number of affluent households:

About 6.15 million millionaire households are spread across the U.S. That means 1 in every 20 households…has more than $1 million in investable assets. Those figures don’t include the value of real estate.

With a penetration ratio of 1 out of 20, oneplus 4 release date you’d think it would be easy to target these consumers with marketing communications for high-end home brands. That’s not necessarily the case. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while building premium brands, is that affluent consumers rarely act (or look like) Richie Rich.

I think there are a few factors driving the increase in elusive behavior. Prior to the recession, there were many affluents who bought high-end home brands for prestige and exclusivity, like the couple I met during a focus group in California who still had the user manual and packing materials in their three-year-old Viking range. They had never used it, but they loved it nonetheless.

Many wealthy consumers went “ghost protocol”  when the recession hit. They tightened budgets, re-evaluated priorities, and took home purchases in generic brown shopping bags, so they wouldn’t be seen as flaunting their bling. The Occupy Wall Street movement and the growing awareness of income disparities helped nudge some affluent consumers even more underground.

At the same time, we’ve seen wealth creation picking up in places outside the usual money centers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the biggest surge in per-capita rankings of millionaires last year occurred in North Dakota:

North Dakota’s energy boom, especially in the Bakken shale region, is driving the state’s wealth gains. But its people in the oil patch aren’t about to flaunt it. “The only way you know a Bakken millionaire is he’ll be driving a new truck and might have taken his wife on vacation,” said Kelvin Hullet, president of the chamber of commerce in Bismarck, the state capital.


So what’s a marketer to do?

Think data. Think technology.

More than anything, you must embrace data. Thankfully, demographic, psychographic and behavioral consumer data is more readily available today than ever. Data provides us with the opportunity to know where affluent consumers are – and helps us gain insights on message creation and message delivery.

Speaking of message delivery, technology now allows us to efficiently deliver our marketing communications with pinpoint accuracy, which not only eliminates waste, but ensures that your message gets to the right person.

Chris Ray

Chris Ray is founding editor of Upward Home, an online resource for marketers of high-end home brands.
Find more information from Chris on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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