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Men Snapping Up Luxury Goods Online, Study Shows

A new study shows that a sizeable majority of these men of means prefer to research and buy online. . / Credit: Buying luxury goods online image via Shutterstock

Brick-and-mortar retailing has taken another kick in the pants, at least when it comes to selling luxury goods to affluent males.  A new study shows that a sizeable majority of these men of means prefer to research and buy online. Only 14 percent take their online research and make a purchase in a store.

The potential loss of this lucrative audience is enough to make conventional retailers shed tears. There are 19 million affluent males on the Internet age 18 and older with a household income of at least $100,000, according to a study conducted by iProspect, a digital performance agency.

And they're not shy about spending their discretionary dollars. Forty percent of the study respondents are shopping online at least twice a week and those who are shopping multiple times are spending more than $30,000 annually. Luxury menswear is on the leading edge of this growth trend, growing at a rate of about 14 percent a year, the study found.

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The overwhelming preference among affluent males (70 percent) is to research and buy online as opposed to researching online and purchasing in-store, the study found. This is good news for online luxury retailers, but not so good for their brick-and-mortar brethren. And it presents challenges to marketers.

While the majority of purchases are still made on PCs, the affluent male is doing more and more research on mobile devices, making a multichannel approach necessary. The vast majority of affluent males (91 percent) access a PC at least once daily, while 77 percent have a mobile smartphone and 50 percent own a tablet.

Their engagement with these devices is high across the board — almost 100 percent of survey respondents reported using their PCs and smartphones at least daily and 85 percent reported daily use of tablets. And when an affluent male has daily access to a tablet, he is 32 percent more likely to have made a purchase via the device, the study showed.

"The old adage that men hate to shop is being upended by the digital experience," said Robert Murray, iProspect's global CEO. "Not only are affluent men shopping online more, but this demographic is doing extensive research, shopping and then purchasing online, which provides advertisers with multiple touch points to reach him."

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.