Daily Insights

How to Appeal to Affluent Consumers in an Era of Thrift

By: Tim Barlow | Jan 16, 2020

Ask a roomful of marketers to name the brands they think are popular among affluent consumers. The Home Depot isn’t likely to top the list. Yet the hardware and home improvement chain is a favorite with people earning household income above $250K per year. How does one of the top DIY brands attract consumers with the means to pay a professional? By tapping into their motivations.

According to the Gartner Consumer Values and Lifestyle Survey, 2019, affluent consumers set high standards for themselves, as they do for others, and have a strong internal drive. Within the broader context of a society rattled by the 2008 Great Recession and enduring wage stagnation, this mindset of self-confidence and self-actualization manifests for affluent people in values like practicality, reliability, and thrift. Affluent consumers could buy more expensive materials, or pay a professional, but doing the job themselves aligns more with their self-made, middle-class mentality.

The fact that today’s affluent consumers aren’t big spenders points brands away from the luxury and decadence so popular in affluence-focused branding of previous decades. Marketers should instead identify characteristics of their brand that align with affluent values of practicality, reliability, and thrift, or the mindset of self-actualization, ambition, and excellence. Look for ways to highlight those elements in their campaigns.