SOURCE: Luxury Institute

Luxury Institute

January 14, 2010 13:04 ET

Luxury Institute WealthSurvery: Search Engines Deliver Wealthy Consumers

Luxury Institute's New WealthSurvey Reveals That Search Engines Are Frequent Starting Points for Online Shopping Across Luxury Categories, Especially in Travel, Entertainment, and Real Estate

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 14, 2010) - The objective and independent New York City-based Luxury Institute ( today released its latest WealthSurvey, "Search Engine Usage & Shopping Habits of the Wealthy," a study detailing how wealthy Americans browse, research and purchase luxury goods and services.

More than three-fourths of wealthy consumers use search engines when shopping for luxury goods and services. They perform an average of 14 daily searches, and 89% report that they made an online purchase as a direct result of a search. The top reasons for performing searches when shopping are: finding the best price (78%), comparing different brands (77%), finding a specific luxury provider's website (77%), finding out where to purchase a product (75%) and reading customer reviews (72%).

Travel is the single most popular luxury category for searches. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of wealthy consumers report searching for airline flights, hotels, resorts, or cruises in the past three months. Entertainment related searches are the second most popular with 51% of the wealthy going online to find information about movies, theater and live music. Local business listings (50%), electronics (47%), real estate (38%) and automotives (37%) also are popular search categories.

Men are more avid users of search engines than women in most categories, but women are twice as likely as men (48% vs. 24%) to have searched online for fashion apparel information in the past three months, and nearly three times as likely (46% vs. 16%) to use a search engine to find information about beauty, skincare, and grooming products and services. Designer shoes (24% vs. 15%) and designer handbags (24% vs. 12%) are two more categories where women dominate in searches. Of note, men are more likely than women (42% vs. 29%) to research and shop online for home appliances.

"Effective search engine optimization strategies are clearly becoming more important to luxury marketers," says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Wealthy individuals are smart consumers, and this means that they will comparison shop, look for best prices, and closely evaluate the merits of a brand's offerings."

In some categories, like designer handbags, 75% of searches are for the manufacturer's name, but the real art of search engine optimization comes when wealthy customers are searching by category, not by name, as is frequently the case in health and fitness (61%), home furnishings (52%) and financial services (42%).

The Luxury Institute surveyed a national sample of 427 wealthy American consumers with average weighted household income of $290,000 and average net worth of $2.9 million. Results of the online survey are weighted to match the profiles of the wealthiest 10% of Americans from the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve.

To purchase the complete Luxury Institute "Search Engine Usage & Shopping Habits of the Wealthy," please visit the "WealthSurvey" section of the Luxury Institute's online store. Members of have free access to these reports via the Resource Center.

About the Luxury Institute (

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications, research and consulting services that guide and educate high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates, the world's first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs.