Two-thirds of U.S. smartphone users earning more than US$150,000 annually shop on their smartphones, and 63% regularly buy goods and services using their devices: Luxury Institute

NEW YORK , March 23, 2012 (press release) –
For the newly released WealthSurvey, "Mobile Apps And Commerce Among Wealthy U.S. Consumers," the independent and objective New York City-based Luxury Institute, in conjunction with mobile agency Plastic Mobile, interviewed U.S. consumers earning at least $150,000 per year about their smartphones and how they use them for shopping and entertainment.

Apple is the dominant smartphone brand for high-income users. Of the 62% of wealthy Americans who own a smartphone, 45% have an iPhone, 35% use an Android-based device, and 25% own a BlackBerry.

More than 80% of wealthy smartphone users have downloaded mobile apps to their phone, and the most popular categories of downloaded apps are weather (63%), news (51%), travel (42%), business/finance (39%) and sports (34%). Wealthy users have downloaded an average of 15 mobile apps and use half of them frequently. Almost half (48%) of affluent consumers use five or fewer apps on a regular basis.

Facebook is the app used most frequently by wealthy smartphone users, followed by weather apps, maps, Google and the Safari browser. Facebook is also the app that wealthy smartphone users say is their favorite. Nearly as popular are the games Angry Birds and Words With Friends.

Top reasons for not downloading apps are lack of interest (49%) and a desire to keep phone functionality simple (32%). Not wanting to pay is a reason cited for not downloading apps by 20% of wealthy smartphone users, but 59% have paid for applications and 55% of those who have downloaded free apps have upgraded to pay versions. Two in five wealthy users are willing to pay for apps priced between $0.99 and $1.99, while 23% are okay with paying between $2 and $4.99 for a mobile app. Only 18% would pay more than $5.

With regard to commerce, 67% of wealthy smartphone users shop on their devices and 63% regularly buy goods or services. Half of shoppers make purchases at least monthly, with almost 80% spending more than $100 on mobile phone transactions in the past year, and 25% spending in excess of $1,000. Event tickets (39%), gift cards (29%), and food and electronics (both 27%) are the top purchase categories.

The chief reason for not shopping on mobile phones is preference for the in-store experience, cited by 51% of users who do not use their device for commerce. Another 29% say that privacy issues keep them from making purchases on their phones.

"The study showed an incredible opportunity for mobile in luxury," says Melody Adhami, president and COO of Plastic Mobile. "Not only are affluent Americans using mobile, but they are really taking advantage of its benefits, with more than 80% of consumers downloading apps."

"Smart luxury firms recognize the potential of their mobile presence to boost sales and get closer to their customers," says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Customers clearly view smartphones as part of the new shopping experience."

Respondents reported an average net worth of $2.8 million.

For details from this WealthSurvey and others, visit

About Luxury Institute (
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.