The middle class mindset of affluents

It’s not all bad news for luxury marketers – there are still more wealthy people now than there were 20-30 years ago.  Nearly 80% of the affluent population, who have achieved a household income status of $125,000+, have risen from the middle class, according to The Annual Survey of Affluence & Wealth in America, produced by American Express Publishing Corporation and Harrison Group.  The study revealed that 69% of this population have accumulated their wealth within the past 15 years and spend their money with a middle-class mindset.

Meaning? Their day-to-day spending habits have changed. This group comparison shops to save money and is more likely to browse the Web than to purchase on impulse. It’s less about what the affluent WANT (i.e. “stuff”), and more about what they NEED (i.e. time with family friends, giving back to the community and good health).

What does this mean to the travel industry? Two-thirds of respondents in this survey said that they spend less time with family and friends and “would like more opportunities to connect with people.”  91% reported that vacations are more important than ever to escape and returned refreshed. Moreover, members of this group still spent over $100 billion on travel in the past year from the perspective of education, pleasure, time with family and friends and pursuing personal passions – which are all part of the NEED economy of personal well-being.

Does this mean that this recessionary dark cloud has a silver lining?  If companies can tap into these consumer “needs” and have a better understanding their “middle class mindset,” traveling consumers will still bite.

by Chelsea Orth, KWE group


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