American Marketer


Ultra-affluents read 25pc more print media than average consumers: study

September 20, 2012


Despite the growing number of magazines and newspapers on smartphones and tablets, the majority of ultra-affluent consumers in the United States are still consuming content via print at a steady rate, according to research from Ipsos MediaCT.

The 2012 Mendelsohn Affluent Survey found that 82 percent of affluent consumers who have at least $100,000 household income read at least one of the 150 print magazines and newspapers asked, with these consumers reading an average of 8.2 titles. Meanwhile, ultra-affluents with $250,000 household income consume approximately 25 percent more print media or an average of 10 titles.

“Affluents are still consuming media, particularly print, even though there are so many devices in the market,” said Steve Kraus, San Francisco-based chief research and insights officer for Ipsos MediaCT's audience measurement group.

“I think that this speaks to a hunger for content, and that readers have not gotten to a point where they are satiated,” he said. “They still want more things to read and more videos to watch and, in a sense, media is making them hungrier for media and increasing the appetite overall.

“Print especially is preferred for ultra-affluent consumers.”

Luxury touch-and-feel
Predictably, consumers who are slightly older value print marketing more than younger consumers.

Approximately 24 percent of affluents read at least six national daily newspapers measured in the survey including Financial Times, Investor’s Business Daily, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

In addition, the hard copy circulation of these newspapers is more than 11.3 million, reflecting a growth of 3.9 percent since 2011.

Print version of Elle Accessories

Meanwhile, affluent consumers read a huge variety of print publications.

Approximately 73 percent of affluent women read women’s publications and 63 percent read fashion/beauty magazines.

Meanwhile, affluent men read men’s publications and titles related to science, technology, sports and automobiles.

Ultra-affluent consumers are more likely than affluents to read print publications. About 68 percent of consumers read travel publications, 64 percent read news, 54 percent read women’s publications and 51 percent read fashion/beauty.

Therefore, it is plausible to think that ultra-affluent women consume the most print media.

This could be why magazines such as Departures, W, Elle Accessories, Architectural Digest and Vogue have seen considerable ad revenue or circulation increases this year.

Hermes ad in Departures

Digital touchpoints
Even though consumers are reading print at a steady rate, they are still downloading and reading content on digital devices as well.

Consumers are downloading magazine and newspaper apps.

Tablet version of Vanity Fair

Approximately 26 percent of affluent consumers own a tablet and 47 percent live in a household with a tablet.

In 2012, 4.7 million affluent consumers downloaded a magazine app and 7 million downloaded a newspaper app.

This gives marketers ample opportunity to reach consumers on both print and digital publication platforms.

The New York Times iPad app

“Interestingly enough, the growth that we are seeing in tablets is not cannibalizing print,” Mr. Kraus said. “Actually, what we are seeing is that tablets and print are coexisting quite peacefully.

“The more content people are getting, the more they seem to want,” he said.

Predictably, there are some generational differences, with younger consumers preferring digital over print and older true luxury customers consuming print on a more regular basis.

However, brands can help to bridge this gap by being present in relevant situations, per Mr. Kraus.

“What it all comes down to is relevance,” Mr. Kraus said. “I think that part of it really comes down to who affluents are and what they need as well as emotional hot buttons to hit.

“People are looking for advertising that speaks to their needs and interests, and there is no substitute for really understanding customers at a deep level,” he said.

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York