The Elusive and Mysterious Ultra High Net Worth Consumer Among High-End Home Brands

elusive_tiger[2]Brendan Howard /


Yes, they are different, but don’t assume that they don’t consume media like everyone else.

The high-end marketplace often thinks of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) consumers as exotic and mysterious creatures, like Sundarbans tigers. Granted, these consumers are rare – there are only 60,000 or so of them in North America with a net worth of US$30M or more – but too many marketers are making uninformed decisions in the way they target UHNW prospects.
This disturbing trend was brought to light in some recent research published by Wealth-X, a smart global research and prospecting firm that specializes in providing insights and intelligence on UHNW individuals to global private banks and luxury brands. When Wealth-X polled corporate decision-makers across several categories, they uncovered a surprising bias against deploying digital marketing strategies to reach UHNW consumers.
According to the survey, “There are two main reasons for the limited use of digital marketing when targeting the UHNW population: for 11% of respondents, it is incompatible with the luxury industry, and for another 26% the consensus is that UHNW individuals do not engage in online shopping while 68% felt that UHNW clients do not respond to such campaigns.”
Incompatible with the luxury industry? Really? This line of thinking assumes that, just because someone has a net worth north of $30 million, he or she no longer goes online, does product research, engages on social media, or uses a smartphone to learn more about a brand.
I’ve met a few luxury marketers who share this worldview, so I am not at all surprised by the survey. If anything, it illustrates an extraordinary opportunity for high-end home brands to connect with UHNW consumers digitally, assuming that they are a relevant part of your prospect base. It’s a big opportunity because very few other brands are there right now.
Consider this:
Affluent consumers (HNW and UHNW) spend nearly three hours of personal time every day online
– 83% own a laptop; 67% own a smartphone; and 41% own a tablet
– Their top social media sites are Facebook (71%); Google+ (37%); and LinkedIn (31%)
– And among the most popular mobile apps, 39% use shopping/retail apps
Source: Scorpio Partnership
In some ways, it’s true, as Fitzgerald said, that the rich are different from you and me. But less so when it comes to the way that they engage with the world digitally. So don’t ignore your brand’s digital outreach to UHNW individuals because you believe it’s “incompatible with luxury.”
Wealth-X points out the big opportunity:
“In part because of this conviction that personal campaigns are the most effective, digital marketing methods have largely been overlooked. Though many brands use online platforms to increase brand awareness, targeting UHNW customers via digital marketing is considered neither important nor likely to generate substantial results…In an increasingly digital age, however, and with a younger, more tech-savvy generation set to inherit US$16 trillion in the next 30 years (according to Wealth-X predictions) such a consensus may need to be revisited.”
Learn more about Wealth-X here.

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