Affluent Consumers Still Like Their Hard Copy Print Pubs Despite Growth of Digital

The 2012 Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, released recently, shows that Affluents (HHI $100k+) continue to reaffirm the power of the hard copy print publications in their lives, even as tablet and smartphone penetration grows disproportionately in this demographic. Affluent Women and Ultra Affluents (HHI $250k+) are particularly heavy print consumers, with highest reach and number of titles and issues read. 

The survey finds that 82% of Affluents read at least one of the 150 measured and reported print publications (143 magazines and 7 national newspapers). The total duplicated average-​issue audience (AIA) is more than 221 million, reflecting that America’s 59 million Affluents read an average of 18.7 issues across an average of 8.2 titles. Comparing publications measured in both 2011 and 2012, Affluent average-​issue audience was relatively stable at ‑1.3%. Ultra Affluents consume approximately 25% more print media, reading an average of 23.5 issues across an average of 10 titles.

Looking specifically at the 24% of Affluents who read at least one of the six national daily newspapers measured in hard copy form, the total AIA increased by 3.9%, to 11.3 million,” says Steve Kraus, Chief Research & Insights Officer for Ipsos MediaCT's Audience Measurement Group. “Readership incidence of these newspapers is also significantly higher among Ultra Affluents, reaffirming the continued need for an informed, in-​depth daily “news fix” among this highly-​engaged segment.”


Across all media, the survey also finds that television continues to rank first in advertising reach and receptivity, with magazines a close second. “Previous week” reported TV watching is nearly ubiquitous at 97%, with a small (-4%) reported drop in the average number of hours watched weekly to 16.9 hours. Affluents also reported watching slightly fewer cable networks, although still robust, at 15.7. This however did not dampen their enthusiasm for investing in TV sets that are even bigger in size, quality and connected-ness.

Almost 60% of Affluents reported listening to radio in the past week, and among those listening, average time spent listening rose 4% to 10.6 hours weekly.


The survey finds that 26% of Affluents personally own a tablet, and 47% live in a household with a tablet – figures that essentially tripled from 2011. More than half (55%) now own a smartphone, up from 45% in 2011. Growth was evident in the downloading of the three most widely-​used categories of apps – games (68%), weather (62%) and music (62%) – as well as apps related to social networking (45%) and books/​e‑readers (40%). In 2012, 4.7 million Affluents downloaded a magazine app, more than doubling from 2.0 million in 2011; 5.9 million downloaded a newspaper app, up from 3.6 million in 2011. Affluents reported using the Internet an average of 37.4 hours weekly, up 14% from 2011, with the largest growth seen in sites related to social media, entertainment and shopping.

As a whole, the survey suggests considerable opportunities for marketers, advertisers and media brands focused on the Affluent market.

[Source:  "2012 Mendelsohn Affluent Survey"  Ipsos MediaCT.  19 Sept. 2012.  Web.  26 Sept. 2012.]