What can demographics teach you about your clients and their media consumption habits? Actually, a lot.

Recently, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) released a report about the affluent in America, described as those who are “time poor but cash rich.”


Affluent Americans typically make between $100,000 and $200,000 per household each year.

A majority of affluent Americans fall into either the Baby Boomer (30%) or Gen X (33%) demographics.

There are affluent households throughout the United States, but more are found in the Northeast and the West.

In general, affluent Americans live in urban settings, are college-educated, are married, and work in a white-collar job.

They have a lot of the same characteristics, priorities, and life stressors as Americans who are not classified as affluent.

  • Valued characteristics include self-reliance, modesty, and social tolerance.
  • Priorities include time with family, a successful career, and an education.
  • The biggest life stressors are balancing work and family and time management.


The Difference

But there is one big difference between the two groups. Their disposable income.

Disposable income is defined as the money remaining after taxes and other required bills. Disposable income can be saved or spent depending on what the individual wants.

According to MarketingProfs, disposable income is used mainly by affluent Americans to “simplify and enrich” the lives of those who have it. Examples of using disposable income to simplify your life include hiring a housekeeper whereas disposable income used to enrich your life could be buying the newest iPhone.

What This Means

Affluent Americans are able to spend more. VAB listed these areas where affluent Americans spend their disposable income:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Sports and Fitness
  • Socializing
  • Technology


Technology was one of the biggest areas of interest in this study.

Although many of these affluent individuals own the latest technologies, only 13% of respondents in the VAB report believe that they are “highly knowledgeable” about how to use them effectively and efficiently.

Affluent adults are particularly attached to TV, and TV on television screens (as opposed to laptops or streaming sites). VAB reported that:

  • 40% of affluent adults prefer watching sports
  • 21% prefer watching dramas
  • 19% prefer watching news
  • 13% prefer watching comedies
  • 6% prefer watching reality shows
  • 1% prefer watching documentaries


Because of their attachment to traditional television, affluent adults watch more ad-supported tv shows, and therefore more advertisements.

How do you Reach this Audience?


According to the VAB report, and the previous section, since affluent Americans are so attached to television, the best way to advertise to them is through commercials.

Commercials are especially effective for “premium brands.” Premium brands are categorized as those with a high price and an exception quality, leading to an outstanding reputation. Some examples of premium brands are Chanel and Mercedes.

There is a correlation between the ads that affluent Americans see and their online searches and offline purchases. That’s why having a Call To Action in your advertisements is particularly important for marketing.

Following television advertisements (40%), radio (24%) and internet (21%) are the next two most popular ways to reach affluent Americans, according to the VAB report.

While VAB did not list ways to reach affluent Americans through radio and the internet, we’ve complied our own list.


The biggest benefit of advertising through radio is that it reaches many affluent Americans. This is because radio is listened to most frequently in the car, and according to the report, a majority of affluent adults own or lease luxury cars.

Highlighting small or local businesses is another benefit of radio. This is because radio is still frequently localized, and smaller businesses can reach the right geographical audiences through radio.

Radio can also be used to help create special sponsorships. Teaming up with your local station helps you to get involved in the community. Affluent adults are also more likely to be a part of their neighborhood, and by being at these events, you’ll get to connect face-to-face with your target audience.


As affluent Americans, they are more likely to spend money on new technology. These technologies, which include computers, smartphones, and tablets, can be used to surf the web and to buy online. Par Excellent Magazine found that most affluent Americans preferred shopping online compared to in-store, citing convenience and saving time as the two main reasons.

The best way to market to affluent Americans is by being present on social media sites. According to Pew Research Center, 77% of affluent Americans are present on at least one social media platform. The most common sites that affluent Americans have profiles on are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

If your goal, which it should be, is to get users back to your website, make sure your website is up to date and up to speed. Especially because some affluent Americans will reach your site through their mobile device, make sure your website is also optimized for mobile.

How to Sell to Affluent Americans

A report by RSVP shows that there is a process to how you can get someone to buy from you. The first step is to make someone aware of your product or service. If they don’t know about it, they definitely won’t buy it. The second step is consideration, which is where a consumer evaluates different solutions and companies that could help them. The final step is the purchase itself.

But how do you get someone from consideration to purchase? RSVP found that people use purchasing triggers by drawing on:

  • Emotion: Emotion drives most of our consumption habits, whether we know it or not. The biggest influencing emotions are sadness, joy, excitement, and fear, although any emotion can trigger a reaction to buy.
  • Value: The value of something influences us as well. Sales or Buy One Get One (BOGO) deals increase the value of some things by getting people to buy what they usually might not.
  • Referral: Referrals from trusted sources are a great motivator to buy certain products or services. That is why many people turn to comment sections, customer testimonials, or even friends before making a decision on why or what to buy.
  • Expectation: Expectation is the end result of the product or service, and a large incentive to buy. Think of it as purchasing a romantic night with a spouse instead of purchasing an $100 bottle of wine.
  • Need: Need is the most basic buying trigger. For example, I buy gas from Exxon because I am on empty and it is the closest gas station.