In early 2007, when the last edition of Packaged Facts The Affluent Consumer Market in the U.S. was published, affluent consumers in America as well as wealthy individuals around the globe were going about their business of making, borrowing and spending money in blissful ignorance of the perfect financial storm that lay ahead. At the time, it was unimaginable that the housing bubble would deflate and leave behind a wreckage of foreclosures and worthless subprime mortgage securities. It was unthinkable that the stock market would collapse, financial markets would come close to imploding and a storied institution such as Lehman Brothers would simply disappear from the Wall Street landscape. Practically no one could foresee the onset of the most severe recession in more than 70 years.
The 2009 edition of Packaged Facts The Affluent Consumer Market in the U.S. provides a timely, in-depth analysis of how affluent consumers are responding to the most profound economic crisis since the Great Depression. The report uses multi-year data from Experian Simmons National Consumer Studies to track affluent consumer attitudes and behavior from the years preceding the onset of the Great Recession into 2009. This trend analysis gives marketers an insightful, up-to-date view of what’s changed and what’s stayed the same in the psyche and behavior of affluent consumers, who account for 22% of the nation’s households but still generate more than half of the household income of the country and remain responsible for more than one-third of all consumer spending.
This Packaged Facts report begins with an assessment of the strategic trends shaping the affluent consumer market today, including a data-driven analysis of how affluent consumers are coping—or not—with the Great Recession. The next chapter describes how marketers are adapting to change in the affluent consumer market and highlights key opportunities in what remains the single most attractive market segment in the American consumer economy. Following a chapter that includes an in-depth demographic profile of affluent consumers, the report assesses the size of the affluent market today and projects its growth through 2014.
The second section of the report examines how affluent consumers manage and spend money. It includes a chapter offering insights into changes in the attitudes of financial consumers toward risk and includes an analysis of credit card use and ownership of insurance policies and investments. The next chapter explores affluent consumer spending and shopping patterns. It includes a trend analysis of affluent consumer expenditures from 2005 through 2008 that demonstrates where affluent consumers are cutting back and in some cases adding to their household budgets. It also provides an overview of the behavior of affluent shoppers—in stores, online and from catalogs.
The third section of the report includes separate chapters highlighting key aspects of affluent consumer behavior. These include chapters on health and well-being, affluent consumers and their homes and cars, how affluent consumers spend leisure time and affluent consumers and the media.
Read an excerpt from this report below.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
New York Metro Area Tops List of Affluent Metro Areas
The New York metropolitan area contains more affluent households by far than any other metro area in the United States. The 2.1 million affluent households in the New York metro area represent 9% of all affluent households. New York has an even higher proportion of super-affluent households. The approximately 600,000 households with an income of $200,000 or more account for 12% of all super-affluent households in the United States. There are more super-affluent households in the New York metro area alone than there are households of all kinds in metro areas such as Richmond, Virginia (467,000 households) and Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina (401,000 households). Other metro areas with a significant number of affluent households include Los Angeles (1.2 million), Chicago (920,000), Washington, D.C. (835,000), Philadelphia (610,000) and San Francisco (601,000). [Table 4-13]
Affluent Generate More than Half of U.S. Household Income
In 2008 affluent households made up only 22% of all households but were responsible for generating 52% of aggregate household income in the United States, or a total of $4.2 trillion. Mass affluent households accounted for 23% of all household income, while 17% of household income accrued to highly affluent households. With an average income of $415,000, super-affluent households were responsible for 13% of aggregate household income. [Table 5-3]
Frequent Credit Card Use a Hallmark of Affluence
Compared to other consumers, affluent consumers are much more likely to have used a credit card 15 or more times in the past 30 days (47% vs. 21%), with super-affluent consumers standing out as the most likely to use a card this frequently (61%). In terms of types of cards owned, the widest disparity occurs in the case of American Express cards. The affluent are nearly three times as likely to have an American Express Card (25% vs. 9%). The gap is narrower in the case of MasterCard (42% vs. 28%) and Visa (53% vs. 37%). [Table 6-4]In the News
Anticipated Turnaround of U.S. Economy Marks Gradual Return to Optimism for Nation’s Affluent Consumers
New York, November 2, 2009 — With the widely anticipated turnaround of the U.S. economy looming, the unbridled pessimism that has afflicted affluent American consumers since the onset of the Great Recession is dwindling. In its place is a sense of gradually returning optimism, according to The Affluent Consumer Market in the U.S., the latest report by leading market research publisher Packaged Facts.
Notably, the study, based on data from Experian Simmons National Consumer Study, reveals that half of affluent consumers have previously claimed to be worse off financially than they were 12 months ago. The aftermath of life in the new economy created a radical shift in the thinking and behavior of affluent consumers, who increasingly favored belt-tightening over extravagance and risk taking.
Economic analysts and social commentators remain divided in their views about whether the Great Recession has caused a permanent change in spending habits on the part of American consumers—be they affluent or otherwise. Nevertheless, Packaged Facts predicts the affluent cohort will continue to wield considerable economic clout for the foreseeable future as the returning optimism leads to increased, but careful spending.
“Although the affluent may feel less wealthy than before, as a group they remain in a privileged position in relative terms and represent the most attractive opportunity for marketers in the American consumer economy,” says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Affluent household income is nearly four times larger than that of non-affluent households, and the average affluent consumer unit spends nearly three times more than those with an income of $70,000 and less."
In 2008 affluent households—single person households with a $75,000+ income and multiple person households with a $100,000+ income—made up 22% of all households, yet were responsible for generating 52% of aggregate household income in the U.S., or a total of $4 trillion. Packaged Facts projects that the number of affluent households will grow from 26 million in 2009 to around 29 million in 2014, with aggregate income reaching $5 trillion by the end of the forecast period.
The Affluent Consumer Market in the U.S. provides a timely, in-depth analysis of how affluent consumers are responding to the most profound economic crisis since the Great Depression. The report uses multi-year data from Simmons studies to track affluent consumer attitudes and behavior from the years preceding the onset of the Great Recession into 2009. Besides an in-depth demographic profile of affluent consumers, the report assesses the size of the affluent market today and projects its growth through 2014.
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