The Difference Between An Affluent Survey and Market Research

August 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Marketing 

There is a significant difference between an affluent survey, also known as a luxury survey, and the usual forms of market research. That is because the purchasing habits of the affluent are not generally the same as those less well off financially. That isn’t to say that the wealthy do not purchase ordinary standard consumer goods, because they do, and neither that the Average Joe doesn’t purchase luxury goods, because he does, but those with the need for an affluent survey are not businesses that supply ordinary consumer goods.

Every household purchases standard goods: the poor, those of average wealth and the affluent, and when carrying out a market survey involving such goods, your largest market will be the ordinary person. The affluent will only constitute a small proportion of your market.

Who Are the Affluent?

It has been established that the top 10% of American households in terms of wealth is responsible for almost half of the total consumer spending in the USA, and is therefore a significant part of the overall consumer market, and a market in its right: the affluent market with an annual income of minimum $250,000. It cannot be ignored!

However, what is the bulk of that consumer spending used for? In fact, that 10% of households is responsible for buying over 90% of so-called luxury goods. High-end automobiles, luxury electronics goods, expensive vacations, high priced jewelry and so on. Those that design, manufacture and market such goods target the affluent market. They do not target the ordinary consumer, and so any market survey they carry out must be focused on the affluent group.

So, the difference between an affluent survey and a normal market survey is that the former is focusing on merchandise purchased predominantly by the wealthy, while the latter targets goods purchased by the population as a whole – including the wealthy. So an affluent survey is researching a subset of the population responsible for purchasing the vast majority of luxury items. That subset comprises fundamentally the top 10% of earners in the country.

Affluent Survey Vs Standard Consumer Survey

Not only is there a difference between those involved in an affluent and normal consumer survey, but also in the way they are carried out. A standard survey will measure historical purchasing data and consumer trends, and businesses will establish manufacturing and sales strategies based upon that data.

However, because so many luxury goods are individual purchases of products that are enduring, such as luxury yachts and jet planes, historical data is frequently misleading. What are needed are future trends and forecasts of what the affluent intend to purchase in the future. What will their spending habits be next year, in five years or even in ten years time?

With standard goods, the markets are general so large that development can come first, and people will buy. This has been the case with most modern advances, such as personal computers. The trend was bucked slightly with the iPhone and iPad, when Apple listened to consumers and included some of their requests in their developments. With the wealthy, this can be the major basis of their strategic planning because those developing products just for the top 10% of the population must have a market available before the development begins.

Hence the need for an affluent survey, and why it has to be focused differently to a normal consumer survey. It is essential for businesses developing and manufacturing luxury goods that are highly priced, with a limited customer base, that they do this almost to order. By carrying out a luxury survey your business can find out what is in the minds of the wealthy:

– Are there any gaps in the current market not being filled for them?

– Is there anything they need that they cannot currently buy?

– What high-end high-ticket products are they thinking of buying next year?

– How do they see their spending changing over the next few years?

– How do they see their own businesses expanding?

– Are they considering new plant or equipment over the next few years?

– Do they expect to reduce or increase their general consumer spending?

– What do the affluent really want from a business like yours?

By getting answers to questions like these, you will be in a better position to match your current and future products to meet their projected needs. There are many more questions you could ask of the affluent, but only you know the information you need to help your planning.

Many wealthy people will refuse to answer your questions, but large numbers will because they know that by letting you know of their current and projected needs they will be more likely to get what they want. An affluent survey can be literally worth its weight in gold to a business that relies upon the wealthy for the bulk of their business.

More information on the difference between an affluent survey, also known as a luxury survey, and other forms of market research can be found on where you will find a great deal of other information, including how to use custom affluent survey to improve your market share.

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