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Rich People Eat Hamburgers, Too

Those with good incomes don't necessarily see themselves as rich; marketers should take that into account when targeting this segment

Close up of a hamburger and friesIt’s a strange but persistent trend that high-income consumers in the US (those with a household income of $100,000+) don’t consider themselves as well off at all, but somewhere in the middle of the pack, or what in the US is called middle class.

Three Quick Stats

This is because these consumers – that marketers covet tremendously – see themselves as working hard for their money, rather than living a luxurious lifestyle in the top echelons of society. Three statistics bear this out.

  1. High-income and affluent consumers say that having their nose to the grindstone explains their income; 71% of consumers with a household income (HHI) over $100,000 cite “personal hard work” as the top reason for their or their family’s financial standing. That percentage only grows as income grows.

  2. The wealthier the consumer, the more strongly they self-identify with values that connote perseverance and talent – independence, confidence, excellence, ambition, self-actualization, and expertise.

    In other words, affluent consumers pride themselves on earning their wealth; it’s a continuous journey of effort.

  3. Because hard work is an important self-identification trait for affluent consumers, luxury and brand names won’t resonate with these consumers as much as quality will.

    In fact, the higher the income, the more quality matters. Affluents will spend more for a durable, well-designed product.

Marketers and brand specialists devising campaigns to reach this high-income, hard-working segment would do well to “de-luxify” their brand’s positioning, and instead aim for something that more closely resembles this group’s lifestyle.


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