BLOG: The Consumer Revolution: The Rise of the Mass Affluents
Once upon a time, we lived in a world where our sense of style, self-worth and purchasing habits were all a reflection of one’s stature and class. A time where luxury products and services were catered to the upper class with most of the emphasis on the price-tag and the status symbol that came with it. The wealthy only wanted what others could not have, and it was a way for them to distinguish themselves from the masses. In this age of flair, flaunt and frills, exclusivity was king.This era led to the exponential growth of five-star hotels and luxury consumer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Mont Blanc and more across Asia.The affluent ruled the consumer world and brands only catered to them. The middle class lived with mediocrity, often being neglected, sandwiched between the affluent and the underprivileged.
With the progression of trends, social mindset and philosophies, consumer trends and habits have shifted phenomenally over the last five to ten years. Consumer power has now been transferred from the wealthy and lavish into the hands of the upper middle and middle class. Greater wealth distribution, globalisation, the internet and contemporary social philosophies have given rise to a new age of consumers – The Mass Affluents or the Henry’s (High Earners, Not Yet Rich) of our time. As individuals, the Mass Affluents may not hold enormous purchasing power, but together, they rule the world. The Mass Affluents are leading a new trend, a new market and a new world.
So who are the Mass Affluents or the Henry’s of our world? Mass Affluents are consumers that occupy the upper echelon of the middle-class demographic.They are smart, savvy, cosmopolitan consumers who are young, fun, and adventurous. Mass Affluent consumers today have three main desires – they want uniqueness, they want quality and they want affordability. With the purchasing power they hold as a mass, they have compelled brands to narrow down all their efforts to appeasing this new and influential segment of consumer society. The Mass Affluents are demanding a change, and new age brands are scrambling to meet their demands, transforming the entire concept of consumer-brand relationships. This new explosion of ideas has given birth to the notion of ‘affordable luxury’ ; comfort and leisure that is reachable for everyone.
Many may wonder, what is the influence of the Mass Affluents? The Global Restaurant Investment Forum 2016 has reported that by 2030, Asia will account for 66% of the global-middle class population and 59% of the middle-class consumption. There is no doubt that the Mass Affluents hold the financial weight of the Asian world and their power and influence is only going to continue to grow. Because of globalization and the internet,Mass Affluents now have greater exposure and awareness of global trends and cultures. This availability of information has increased their sophistication and expectation of brands tremendously. They are not going to settle for less, adding a huge amount of competitive pressure on brands to win these consumers over and the brands are responding.
We see evidence of this phenomena in brands such as Zara, Mango, Forever 21, HnM, Air Asia and many more which are growing exponentially because of their promise to bring style, comfort and value for money to the masses. The world today demands the transformation of exclusivity to accessibility and this has reconstructed the entire consumer based industry whether it is clothing, accessories, travel or hospitality. Existing brands are revamping their targeting to include the Mass Affluents while new brands are gaining popularity only because they have managed to put the Mass Affluents in the forefront of their brand promise.
The significance of the Mass Affluent demographic is quickly unfolding. Their new ideas and philosophies are encouraging brands to come up with new concepts that are both better for the individual and better for the world. An example of this is the latest trend of the shared economy where we can see new-age consumption behaviours transferring from the ownership of goods and services to the sharing of goods/services in order to increase affordability, productivity and resourcefulness. The revolution is far from over.
At Soho Hospitality, mass affluents are the core demographic of our business. We closely study this group of consumers by monitoring and following their consumer behavior. We are interested in everything they do – what music they are listening to, what clothes they are wearing, what they are buying, where they are eating and drinking, what products and services they are engaging with! By tapping into this demographic, we believe we can continue to create unique and innovative concepts to meet the needs of our evolving, unpredictable consumers! These young people are keeping the world on its toes and doing what they do best : Leading Revolutions.
In the next segment of ‘ The Consumer Revolution’ we venture a look into how the influence of the Mass Affluent demographic has given rise to another quickly escalating unique phenomenon of the ‘Shared Economy’. Stay Tuned!