The Wired Wealthy Searching for Luxury

No, they don’t wait for their butlers to bring them samples of luxuries they might wish to buy. Wealthy consumers are avid users of search engines, says a report released last week by the Luxury Institute, when hunting for fancy items.

More than three-quarters of the wealthy consumers surveyed said they use search engines when shopping for luxuries. (The survey’s respondent pool had average household income of $290,000 and average net worth of $2.9 million.)

Travel generates the most searches among the survey’s wealthy consumers, with 64 percent saying they’ve searched for airline flights, hotels, resorts or cruises in the past three months. Entertainment is next in the standings (51 percent), followed by local business listings (50 percent) and electronics (47 percent).

Different sectors evoke different kinds of search. “In some categories, like designer handbags, 75 percent of searches are for the manufacturer’s name,” says the institute’s summary of its findings. But majorities of the respondents said they search by category rather than by brand name in sectors ranging from health and fitness (61 percent) to home furnishings (52 percent).

The survey also asked respondents to indicate the kinds of information they’re apt to seek online when planning luxury purchases. Atop the standings were “find the best price” (78 percent), “compare different brands” (77 percent), “find specific company’s Web site” (77 percent), “find out where to buy a product” (75 percent) and “read customer reviews” (72 percent).