The Rich Shop Online, Google Study Finds

Last Updated Oct 23, 2008 1:32 AM EDT

The rich are different from you and me, but not too different. Advertising Age reports on a new study from Google that says online shopping is the preferred retail channel of the very rich.

This could be news for marketers who see in-person luxury retail environments as the best way to reach people who still have money to spend â€" or marketers who see the Internet as a digital bargain basement.

"All the people we're talking about have far more money than time. The internet provides that time efficiency," said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, and a researcher on the Google study.

"Customer experience, by definition, doesn't mean in-store experience. It means how people want to be served. ... Sometimes it's so much more convenient to sit down at a computer and not have to set foot in the store."

Google surveyed the shopping habits of 263 millionaires (shoppers 25 to 64 with an income of more than $1 million) and 730 ultra-affluents (net worth of $1 million, household incomes of $250,000 or more for married couples).

Key findings:

  • Millionaires like bargains, "with 91 percent saying they always or often look at reviews before buying luxury goods," according to Ad Age.
  • They agreed almost unanimously (94 percent) that "making a high-end or luxury brand available online doesn't cheapen their opinion of the product or brand."
  • Rich people work for their money, and the richer they are, the more likely they are to work: 89 percent of millionaires work full time.
  • Respondents who shopped online spent more: $114,632 a year vs. $22,813 per year for those who shop in stores.
  • Lisa Everitt

    A Denver-based business writer, Lisa Everitt is a veteran of daily and weekly newspapers and trade magazines, including The Natural Foods Merchandiser, Rocky Mountain News, Inter@ctive Week, San Francisco Business Times, and the Peninsula Times Tribune.