In its most recent read on “mass affluent” consumers, Collinson Group found that these shoppers in the U.S. are more apathetic to loyalty programs compared with their counterparts around the globe — but they crave programs with a high degree of personalization.
The research also shed light on why many consumers in this segment of the population are more mindful of their spending habits.
The global survey polled more than 6,000 consumers who are in the top 10 to 15 percent of earners in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, the UAE and the U.K. The researchers described the survey respondents as “affluent middle class consumers” who are “highly prized by global brands due to their higher spending potential, as well as the aspirational influence they have on other consumers.”
The key findings for the U.S. consumers in the report include that the “level of apathy shown by consumers in the U.S. toward loyalty programs is above the global average of 35 percent.” And while the researchers said more personalized programs were in demand in the U.S. — especially with companies and brands that were “easy to do business with,” the three most popular types of loyalty programs — credit cards, airlines and supermarkets — all experienced declining membership since the last survey in 2014.
Frequent flyer programs dropped to 66 percent membership rate from 80 percent while supermarket loyalty memberships dropped to 69 percent from 71 percent. Credit card program memberships fell to 63 percent from 68 percent in 2014.
Regarding travel, the survey found the “affluent middle class is traveling slightly less now compared to 2014, but when they do it is in style, as the business, first-class and premium-economy segments have all seen increases. The survey also found that Internet access is critical for travelers.”
In this year’s report, the researchers classified the mass affluent into three demographic “tribes” based on their shopping behavior and purchasing patterns. The purpose is to help retailers and brands get a better read on shoppers via consumer personas.
The largest “tribe” are the “prudent planners” at 56 percent, which the researcher describe as “cautious spenders who spend time with family as a top indulgence and rarely make impulse purchases.” For marketers, this group is likely a tough nut to crack since 73 percent said “saving for the future” was a priority.
At 31 percent, the “modernist spenders” were the second largest group, which the report classified as “frequent, tech-savvy travelers who spend mostly on business.” Forty-eight percent of this tribe ranked “new gadgets and technology as a top indulgence when it comes to spending money.”
Lastly, the “experientials” make up 13 percent of the mass affluent and are described as “younger spenders who prioritize leisure, vacation, and travel apps and rewards.” Seventy-two percent of this group listed “going on more vacations” as a top spending priority.
Collinson Group is based in London, and counts American Express, Samsung, Harrods and Hilton as among its clients.