July 18, 2006, 12:00 AM

Super-wealthy consumers prefer the web for luxury shopping

A study by The Luxury Group finds 93% of consumers who had a net worth of $10 million have bought a luxury product online in the past year. Just 55% of all wealthy consumers had purchased luxury goods online.

The wealthy like to use the web to purchase luxury goods online – but the super-wealthy like to do so even more, according to a study by The Luxury Institute. 93% of those surveyed who had a net worth of $10 million or more have purchased a luxury product on the Internet in the past 12 months, compared to just 55% of all wealthy consumers who’d purchased luxury goods online, the survey found.

86% of deca-millionaire consumers used the Internet to conduct research on goods and service providers, versus only 57% of the survey population; while 86% also did online research about luxury goods, versus 73% of the wealthy consumers surveyed overall.

The survey found that consumers earning between $500,000 and $1 million a year are in the income bracket most likely to use the Internet for research and shopping. 80% reported researching goods and services online in the past 12 months. 73% of them have used the Internet to gather information on firms, versus 57% of the wealthy individuals surveyed overall.

However, the study found the wealthy don’t view the Internet as the best channel of communication for all situations. When there is a problem, wealthy consumers are more likely to use the phone or a personal visit to resolve it. 68% preferred a face-to-face meeting when trying to resolve an issue with a luxury goods firm, while 14% preferred the phone. And though 44% use the Internet or e-mail channels to resolve minor issues with a luxury goods or services firm, only 9% seek resolution of major problems with luxury goods or services firms through those channels.

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