mPayments For The Affluent: How Do They Spend?

Will catering to men help popular mCommerce apps like Rue La La bolster their luxury brands long-term?

That’s what a new study from the American Affluence Research Center (AARC) suggests. Released on May 14 through Luxury Daily, the survey found that 9 percent of affluent men make apparel purchases through their mobile devices. By comparison, only 3 percent of wealthy women bought clothing using a smartphone app.

However, this wasn’t simply because these apps don’t let you try on clothes, as online buying was shown to be as popular as ever: The study, entitled “Affluent Marketing Tracking Study No. 23,” revealed that 50 percent of affluent consumers – defined as members of the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households – are making clothing purchases via a computer or laptop.

Likewise, it doesn’t demonstrate a distaste among these consumers for the products – 43 percent of women and 20 percent of men in this demographic reported purchasing luxury apparel whether in-store or through another medium.

In this Data Point, we’ll take a closer look at the release’s major findings so that merchants can adapt their services to these trends – or use them to power new innovations for the market.

Women Are Purchasing Apparel Through The Computer

According to the findings, both wealthy men and women have similar purchasing habits when it comes to shopping for their favorite designer brands, though Luxury Daily concluded “affluent women seem to be comfortable making purchases online.”

In total, 51 percent of female shoppers in this high-end demographic reported buying through a computer, 44 percent conducted transactions in-store, 3 percent used their mobile devices and 3 percent shopped by phone.

By comparison, 50 percent of men bought these items through a computer, 39 made purchases at a physical location and 9 percent secured products with a mobile device. Only 2 percent of affluent male shoppers purchased by phone call.

“The greater number of people buying online versus mobile devices may be the result of online being more appropriate for a considered purchase, while mobile may be favored for more spontaneous and less considered purchases as well as for comparison shopping while in a store,” Ron Kurtz, president of the Atlanta-based market research organization, said about the results.

Affluent Shoppers Don’t Just Want Name Brands

Another surprising aspect of the study was that buyers in the top-earning U.S. households didn’t always shop like they weren’t restricted by budget, though there was a gender divide in this data as well.

Despite the perception that women are more label-conscious when it comes to clothing purchases, the study’s researchers found that wealthy women were far more likely to buy non-designer apparel, as 60 percent reported this purchasing habit. In contrast, only 26 percent of affluent men purchased non-designer clothing.

Wealthy Consumers Research Purchases

While many high-earners are caricatured as spendthrifts, the AARC’s data also contradicted this assumption. Its data indicates “few affluent consumers researched a product online without making a purchase.”

For instance, though only 13 percent of wealthy shoppers – a majority of them women – researched products, only 10 percent of these shoppers didn’t follow through after performing this due diligence.

“Luxury marketers need to be responsive to the increasing orientation of affluent consumers to research and purchase online,” Kurtz concluded.

Read the full report here.


Featured PYMNTS Study: 

With eyes on lowering costs to improving cash flow, 85 percent of U.S. firms plan to make real-time payments integral to their operations within three years. However, some firms still feel technical barriers stand in the way. In the January 2020 Making Real-Time Payments A Reality Study, PYMNTS surveyed more than 500 financial executives to examine what it will take to channel RTP interest into real-world adoption. Here’s what we learned.

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