Affluent Americans Fastest-Growing Online Group

Internet users with household incomes over $150,000 surged 20 percent to 10.3 million in the last calendar year, making it the fastest growing of all income groups in the U.S., according to a study by Nielsen//NetRatings.

This upper-tier group also spends the most time online, a total of 76 hours per month. It visits more Web pages on a monthly basis (2,126) than any other income group, the study found.

“The rise in the number of high-income Web surfers, combined with their propensity to spend the most amount of time surfing and consuming Web pages as compared to everyone else, represents a solid opportunity for marketers,” said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings. “Advertisers would do well to turn to the sites they surf to most efficiently reach this high-income group.”

The most popular sites for men in this high-income group include Fidelity Investments, Sabre Travel Network, CBS MarketWatch, United Airlines, and American Airlines, each capturing over 12 percent of this demographic in January, 2005.

Sites that saw the highest percentage of high income women in January included AOL Travel, Moviefone, AOL Living, Expedia, and AOL Entertainment, each of which drew over 5 percent of the demographic.

“Our research indicates that savvy advertisers trying to reach both men and women efficiently in this group should target online travel sites in their marketing campaigns, while focusing on financial sites to reach men and entertainment destinations to reach women,” Dougherty said.

The findings gel with a related study conducted recently by JupiterResearch that isolated young affluent Internet users as the most active online demographic.

According to the Jupiter study, Internet users between the ages of 25 and 34, with household incomes over $75,000 are more likely to be connected to broadband and engage in a broader range of online activities than overall Web users.

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