The recession was responsible for a temporary shift in the consumer buying and the resulting behavior data that drives predictive models. However, it looks like affluents are once again conforming to the luxury brand identification that typifies the demographic - at least when it comes to automobiles. According to a recent study conducted by MediaPost's Engage:Affluent blog, many wealthy consumers have dropped their consideration of 22 major auto brands in 2011 - an average drop in consideration of 4 percent - and begun to value the highest-luxury brands once again.
Consideration among affluent consumers over the last year for brands like Ford was down by 21 percent and Toyota (down by 13). The picture is even more troubling for VW, Mazda, Honda, Nissan, Lincoln, Subaru and Hyundai who all realized decreases in consideration of 20 percent or more this quarter over the last. The brands that actually experienced gains in the luxury category included Acura (up 82 percent), Mercedes (up 38 percent), Porsche (up 36 percent), BMW (up 33 percent) and Audi (up 35 percent).
"The shift among affluents to the more recognized luxury brands may reflect their renewed optimism in the economy, a growing separation between the haves and have-nots, or simply that high-income affluents are returning to their roots - where money is no object," Engage reports.
During the fourth quarter four key attributes were noted as having increased importance too affluent buyers - quality, reputation, reliability, and customer service.
With affluent prospects representing a limited number of new car buyers (1 in 3 will buy new cars this year), auto manufacturers will in part depend on the high end consumer to drive growth in 2012. By knowing exactly what matters most to these affluents, auto marketers can deliver the right messages to the right prospects.
IP Audience Zones allows online marketers to target prospects based on over 750 demographic variables, including multiple measures of affluence. By targeting at a sub zip code level, IP Zones can identify the users who are most likely to purchase a luxury vehicle - allowing marketers to place their affluent targeted ads in front of the right prospects wherever they navigate on the web. Delivering messages that matter to the affluent audience will be a key to marketing campaigns for luxury auto brands looking to increase their brand consideration in the coming year.