Capturing the Online Spend of Affluent Consumers

Affluent consumers are significantly more active online than their non-affluent counterparts. Consumers whose income and investable assets fall in the top 20 percent in the country (both over $100,000) report having made an average of 21.6 online purchases in the second half of 2009—67 percent more than other consumers, who reported an average of 12.9 purchases. [1]

When making these online purchases, the affluent are significantly more likely than non-affluent consumers to use credit cards (93 percent vs. 71 percent) and PayPal (45 percent vs. 39 percent), but significantly less likely to use debit (19 percent vs. 43 percent). [1]

Affluent consumers are also significantly more likely than other consumers to conduct banking activities online (81 percent vs. 68 percent) and to have used an online bill payment service to make a payment or transfer money (64 percent vs. 49 percent). [1]



1. Drive Card to Top of Wallet with Incentives for Online Spend. Consider rewards, discounts, or other incentives for online spend to entice affluent consumers to use your card for online shopping. Card preference for eCommerce could translate into preference in all categories, particularly in an environment where consumers are reducing total number of cards.

2. Focus on Service. A new study indicates that consumers are willing to pay 11 percent more for online purchases—across multiple categories, including financial services—in order to get excellent customer service, [2] and affluent consumers have particularly high expectations in this area. Issuers should ensure that their own customer service, as well as that of their merchant partners, is flawless for heavy online shoppers.

3. Leverage Online Channels to Cross-Sell Financial Products. In addition to banking and bill pay, affluent consumers are significantly more likely than non-affluent consumers to conduct investment research online (63 percent vs. 31 percent) and to buy or sell investments online (37 percent vs.12 percent).1 Take advantage of every online interaction with consumers to cross-sell other products.

4. Feed the Hunger for Information. Seventy percent of affluent consumers report that the Internet changed the way they get information on products, while only 45 percent of other consumers say the same. [3] More than ever, consumers are using comparison shopping sites and engaging social communities to “score” discounts that help them justify their spending. [4] Issuers can support this desire for data by providing information about their own products. They can also act as guides to merchant-partner products and services in categories ranging from “green” baby products to fine dining.

[1] MasterCard, “Affluent Foundation Research,” January 2010.
[2] eCommerce Times, ”Survey Totes Up Value of Excellent Online Customer Service,”
March 19, 2010.
[3] Packaged Facts, “The Affluent Consumer,” 2009.
[4] Iconoculture, ”Consumer Value Seeking,” 2009.

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Recommendations are based on proprietary and third party research, as well as MasterCard’s opinions and insights. They are presented for your information only and should not be relied upon without further consideration by your specific organization. The information provided herein is not intended in any way to assist you in making decisions with respect to a cardholder’s creditworthiness or to whom you should extend credit.