What Affluent Shoppers Want in 2016
For the wealthiest Americans, 2016 is coming up roses.
According to a recent report from the American Affluence Research Center, the top 10 percent of U.S. citizens have a positive outlook regarding their personal net worth and income. Two million households with a minimum $1 million net worth took part in the study. This group of affluent people account for roughly 40% of total consumer spending.
Nearly half (46%) of the participants have some large purchases in mind, such as new auto, a cruise, a home remodeling project, and a primary or vacation home. However, 32% of the affluent responded that they plan to defer or reduce expenditures during the next 12 months — an all-time low for the metric.
Affluent households were forecast by the National Retail Federation to spend $33 billion for December holiday gifts or an average of $2,773, which is approximately four times that of all households. But, while a merry Christmas may have been had by the uppercrust or top 10 percent, the air is about to become even more rarified. As the stock market continues to be volatile and threats of terrorism plague tourist locations, the top one percent of consumers will likely be the sweetest spot for retailers.
That’s because the “one percenters” are least likely to be influenced by any of the ripples that would make most mortals quake in fear: Job loss, Wall Street fluctuations — those are largely inconsequential to this shopper breed. But what it does have in common with the general population is a sense of the type of retail experience they want. They are looking for shopping to be easy, convenient, efficient and tailored to make them feel unique. Easy, yes, but not without style.
The super rich seek a meaningful and personalized the shopping experience. Retailers aiming to serve the niche should not only have well trained staff on hand, but also technology tools that will help them to impress their clients. For example, mobile devices for every associate is a start, but how does that help the customer looking to buy a Rolex? The goal should be to gather all the customer data that is collected in real time, analyze it and then provide pertinent suggestions and promotions based on customer context.
It’s a tough row to hoe: High-end clients may think they want the ease of an Amazon, but they often want far more attention, especially if the purchase is pricey or complex. By using data including past purchases and online browsing history, retailers can glean insights to customers shopping behavior that makes the shopping experience relevant.
Of course, interpersonal relationships will still be crucial for sealing the deal. How better to accomplish that task than through technology? Customer relationship management software and data analysis can help associates learn about customers’ tastes and build relationships. Purchases can be tracked and information used to offer tailored loyalty rewards. Ironically, an associate that uses technology to glean customer information can make the personal touch even more meaningful. And offering personal service, custom-fit for every shopper, is the key to enriching and improving revenue in the affluent shopper segment.
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