Shocking new research reveals that rich people read

A new Ipsos MediaCT Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, released yesterday, shows that affluent consumers do more reading — more than last year and more than other demographic segments.

But what’s surprising is not how much what the study calls “Affluents” ($100,000+ annual household income) and “Ultra Affluents” (a subset with $250,000+ annual household income, AKA “The Rich” or “The 1%”)  read, but what they read.

What they read will surprise you.

More online reading

You’d expect these demographic groups to do more online reading.

For one thing, Affluents have the cash to pay more than their fair share for digital hardware and software.

More than half own smartphones, up 45% from last year. Nearly twice as many as last year  downloaded magazine apps (4.7 million) and newspaper apps (seven million). They average 37.4 hours a week on the Internet.

More dead-tree reading, too

You’d also expect that all that online reading sates their appetite for print. Instead, it makes them hungrier.

“[I]nstead being of satiated, consumers are made more hungry for content,” says Steve Kraus, chief research and insights officer for Ipsos MediaCT’s Audience Measurement Group. “It’s a bit like the all-you-can-eat buffet making you hungrier to try something else.”

This explains why 24% of Affluents — 11.3 million consumers — read at least one of the national daily newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times. “Affluents have a hunger for content synthesized from multiple sources in a thoughtful way, particularly as there is more and more information out there,” Kraus notes.

In other words, instead of reading rawer content on the Internet and forming their own opinions, Affluents like to have someone else pre-filter content and assemble narratives  for them.

Less television

In an average week, the average Affluent consumer listens to slightly more radio(10.6 hours total) but watches less television (16.9 hours a week total) and fewer cable channels.

Yet, the research showed that television still ranks first in reach and receptivity, with magazines a close second.

Hint to advertisers

All this suggests a simple and relatively safe media strategy for advertisers with luxury products or services to sell: Consider putting media money into the Times Dispatch or Style. Or, to take advantage of magazines’ attraction to this high-ticket audience, check with Media Networks International about running in the Richmond metro advertising section of national magazines.

It makes sense to have your ads go where the target audience is.