While the digital world has undoubtedly changed the way many affluent consumers shop – moving a majority from traditional stores to e-commerce – we wanted to understand how affluence has influenced the online world. After interviewing affluent consumers and analyzing videos to understand what digital content this audience prefers to consume, engage with, and create, we’ve uncovered 4 key insights into this audience's online habits.
1. They are hyper-connected
The average affluent consumer in the Middle East is around 39 years old and earns, on average, around USD100,000 in annual personal income, with 38% in the Gulf being expats, and 82% having a university degree. Data confirms that they are front runners in the adoption of personal tech, with 97% of affluent consumers owning a smartphone, 74% owning a tablet, and 41% owning a smartwatch. Despite using multiple devices to stay connected, they prefer mobile first, with time spent online on smartphones being higher than on PCs. Ninety-nine per cent use a smartphone to access the internet, with 3 in 10 regularly using their smartphones to make online purchases.
2. They watch online video daily
Our study shows that 64% of affluent consumers watch online video daily, with 29% watching weekly. On average, they spend 1.5 hours watching YouTube every day, with 74% watching TV programs on a device other than a TV set. During our study interviews, some said they used their smartphones for a minimum of two to three hours per day, with most staying connected for both professional and personal reasons.
3. They watch travel, wellness and adventure content
Travel is the number one passion for all affluent consumers, no matter where they’re from. Affluent consumers are keen to veer off the beaten track and discover new places and hidden gems. According to search volumes, trending countries in 2017 to 2018 included Russia (+148%), Azerbaijan (38%), Georgia (+23%), Mauritius (+20%), Norway (+19%), and Vietnam (+18%).
While travel overall is popular, data reveals that interest in local experiences – which we call micro adventures – is accelerating too. For example, YouTube views for waterparks increased by 156% since last year and views for amusement parks went up by 142% since last year. The thirst for the adrenaline rush also saw YouTube views for skydiving soar by 127% since last year.
Alongside travel, YouTube Search analytics reveal that the platform saw more than 800 million wellness-related video views over the past year, with an increase of 58% in the same category. Projections suggest that this figure is set to grow.
The most popular life-balance categories that affluent consumers seek out on YouTube include relaxation and self-care videos.
4. They are seeking an authentic experience
This audience seeks authenticity more than ever before, with personalization offering them a way to embrace and celebrate who they are. YouTube search data shows us that affluent consumers enjoy watching reviews, unboxing videos, product comparisons, hauls, first sneak peeks, fake busters, is-it-worth-it videos that compare high-priced and low-priced products, favorites/top ten, shop-with-me videos, flaunt-it tours where people showcase their prized collections, and get-ready-with-me videos. We also found that:
- 9 in 10 luxury shoppers research online before buying
- Affluent consumers look at an average of 4.10 online touchpoints
- 76% use search engines as part of their research process
- 71% use online video as part of their research process
Understanding affluent consumers’ search behavior offers advertisers an incredible opportunity
Affluent consumers still love luxury, but the reasons they shop, what they buy, and how they buy have changed. This hyper-connected audience wants to live life to the fullest, enjoy engaging experiences, explore the world, and enjoy personalization that lets them celebrate their authenticity and makes them feel good. Recognizing the move away from exclusivity to inclusivity, some luxury brands have already tailored not only their products and service offerings, but also their digital marketing campaigns, meeting this audience where it is.
For the launch of the Audi A8, the car manufacturer designed an exclusive campaign, recognizing its most influential audience and delivering new cars direct to potential customers’ homes for 24-hour test drives. Delivering black boxes to its target customer base, when recipients pressed a button inside, a vehicle was delivered in 90 minutes. A Dolce & Gabbana #DGYOURSELF campaign celebrated customers’ individuality by encouraging shoppers to customize their luxury goods. Knowing what affluent consumers are searching for, brands have a fantastic opportunity to tailor offerings directly to their key audiences. Not only can they utilize Google data to analyze what affluent audiences are searching for, but they can also use this information to create campaigns that market bespoke offerings direct to wealthy shoppers with intent to buy.