“There are millions of wealthy Americans, many of whom have not suffered much – or have even benefitted – as a result of the financial conditions of 2020. Most are older adults who have actively avoided contact with those outside of their households during the pandemic but, once they are fully vaccinated, many will be among the first to resume their prepandemic spending habits. In the meantime, there will be interest in funding improvements that can add to the value of their homes. Many will also contribute to causes that will help less-fortunate individuals, especially those in their local communities.”
– Kristen Boesel, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst

Key issues covered in this Report

  • Impact of COVID-19 and related economic downturn on affluent and HNW consumers
  • Influence of demographic, economic and policy-related market factors
  • Recent expenditures and use of paid services
  • Attitudes toward philanthropy and charitable giving

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: US context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways: what affluent and HNW consumers want
                • Market overview
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on affluent and HNW adults
                    • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on affluent and high net worth consumers, March 2021
                  • Opportunities and challenges
                    • Challenge for delivery services: maintaining pandemic gains
                      • Figure 2: Paid services, January 2021
                    • Opportunity: appeal to a sense of social responsibility
                      • Challenge for retailers: encouraging wealthy consumers to spend
                        • Figure 3: Intended future spending behaviors, November 2020
                      • Opportunity: convey value with quality, not price
                        • Figure 4: Agreement with statements about quality and price, January 2021
                      • Challenge for national nonprofits: competing with local organizations for donations
                        • Figure 5: Benevolent giving behaviors in past six months, January 2021
                      • Opportunity: highlight individual stories when messaging to potential donors
                      • Affluent and High Net Worth Consumers – Key Takeaways

                        • Among global millionaires, two in five live in the US
                          • Wealth in the US is top heavy
                            • The number of affluent and HNW adults in the US is likely to increase
                              • Many affluent Americans came out of the pandemic financially unscathed
                              • Affluent and High Net Worth Americans by the Numbers

                                • One in five households is considered affluent or HNW
                                  • Figure 6: Distribution of US households by net worth, 2017
                                • US boasts the most millionaires
                                  • Figure 7: Number of adults with wealth above $1 million, by market, June 2020
                                  • Figure 8: Number of adults with wealth above $50 million, by market, June 2020
                                • Bulk of wealth comes from investments
                                  • Figure 9: Mean value of assets for households, by household net worth, 2017
                              • Market Perspective

                                • Most wealth in the US is held by relatively few people
                                  • The link between income and assets
                                    • Figure 10: Median value of assets for households, by annual household income, 2017
                                  • Generational accumulation of wealth
                                    • Educational attainment improves chances of accumulating wealth
                                      • Many of the wealthiest families accumulated wealth by owning businesses
                                        • Inherited wealth can boost an individual’s wealth
                                        • Market Factors

                                          • Demographic factors
                                            • Wealth accumulates over time
                                              • Figure 11: Distribution of household net worth, by age of householder, 2017
                                            • A quarter of White and Asian households are affluent or HNW
                                              • Figure 12: Distribution of household net worth, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2017
                                            • Economic factors
                                              • Rising incomes offer opportunities to increase personal wealth
                                                • Figure 13: Mean income received by each fifth and top 5% of all households, 1970-2019
                                              • Personal Saving Rate spikes
                                                • Figure 14: Personal Saving Rate, percentage, monthly, seasonally adjusted annual rate, Jan 2019-21
                                                • Figure 15: Percentage who added to their savings in past three months, by household net worth, May 2020
                                              • Wealthy households are better able to afford to buy homes
                                                • Figure 16: Median household income and median sales price of new, single-family houses sold in US, 1970-2019
                                              • Policy related factors
                                                • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
                                                  • Proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act
                                                  • Impact of COVID-19 on Affluent and High Net Worth Americans

                                                    • Lockdown and reemergence
                                                      • Wealthier consumers less impacted financially than general population
                                                        • Figure 17: Agreement with statements about current financial situation, January 2021
                                                      • In fact, some billionaires got richer
                                                        • Recovery
                                                          • Affluent and HNW adults will be among the first to spend like it’s 2019
                                                            • Learnings from the last recession
                                                            • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                              • Brands can highlight involvement with local businesses
                                                                • Affluent and HNW consumers equate value with quality
                                                                  • Personal finance services can usher in a new era of empowered investing
                                                                  • Market Strategies and Opportunities

                                                                    • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                                      • Surroundings
                                                                        • Figure 18: Mintel Global Trend Driver – Surroundings, March 2021
                                                                      • Make a case for home renovations and upgrades
                                                                        • Figure 19: Intended future spending behaviors, November 2020
                                                                      • Highlight ways to support local communities
                                                                        • Brand spotlight: DoorDash
                                                                          • Figure 20: “The Neighborhood” DoorDash Big Game Commercial, February 2021
                                                                        • Value
                                                                          • Figure 21: Mintel Trend Driver – Value, March 2021
                                                                        • Quality, not price, indicates value for wealthy consumers
                                                                          • Figure 22: Agreement with statements about quality and price, January 2021
                                                                        • Bulk buying can appeal to savvy, affluent shoppers
                                                                          • Figure 23: Percentage who purchased more of something to get a better deal, by household net worth, January 2021
                                                                        • Brand spotlight: Pottery Barn
                                                                          • Figure 24: Portion of Pottery Barn acquisition email, November 2020
                                                                        • Rights
                                                                          • Figure 25: Mintel Trend Driver – Rights, March 2021
                                                                        • Empowerment through investing
                                                                          • Figure 26: Agreement with statements about investing, January 2021
                                                                          • Figure 27: Agreement that “I would prefer for someone else to handle my money,” January 2021
                                                                        • Fintechs can compete on their level of consumer protection
                                                                            • Figure 28: What is Betterment?, June 2018
                                                                        • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                          • Affluent and HNW adults favor print media and television
                                                                            • Increased use of delivery services unlikely to continue
                                                                              • Most wealthier adults refrained from spending on themselves in 2020
                                                                                • Those who can want to help others financially
                                                                                • Media Consumption

                                                                                  • Print and broadcast TV are best ways to reach wealthy consumers
                                                                                    • Figure 29: Monthly television and print media consumption, January 2021
                                                                                  • Radio remains relevant as well
                                                                                    • Figure 30: Monthly audio and streamed content consumption, January 2021
                                                                                  • Younger affluent/HNW consumers’ media habits are more digital
                                                                                    • Digital audio and video media
                                                                                      • Figure 31: Monthly content consumption, by age, January 2021
                                                                                    • Social media
                                                                                      • Figure 32: Daily social media use, by age and top platforms, January 2021
                                                                                    • Younger affluent/HNW adults more engaged with advertising
                                                                                      • Figure 33: Advertising engagement, by age, January 2021
                                                                                  • Paid Services

                                                                                    • Affluent and HNW consumers pay for relatively few services
                                                                                      • Wealthy adults more willing to spend on home maintenance-related services
                                                                                        • Figure 34: Prepandemic paid services, January 2021
                                                                                      • Interest in post-pandemic childcare similar among all parents
                                                                                        • Figure 35: Child-related paid services, January 2021
                                                                                      • Most wealthy adults plan to resume typical behaviors after the pandemic
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Paid services, January 2021
                                                                                      • Increased use of delivery services driven by safety concerns
                                                                                        • Figure 37: Agreement with statements about safety and convenience, January 2021
                                                                                    • Recent Expenditures

                                                                                      • Compared to gen pop, few meaningful differences in pandemic spending
                                                                                        • Figure 38: Expenditures in the past six months, January 2021
                                                                                      • Women spent across more categories during 2020
                                                                                        • Wealthy men more likely to spend on out of town travel than women do
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Expenditures in the past six months, by gender, January 2021
                                                                                        • Younger affluent and HNW adults more likely to spend in general
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Expenditures in the past six months, by age, January 2021
                                                                                      • Charitable Giving

                                                                                        • Affluent and HNW individuals are positive about pitching in
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Agreement with statements about charitable giving, January 2021
                                                                                        • Generous tips more common than other types of donations
                                                                                          • Local causes strike a chord
                                                                                            • Figure 42: Benevolent giving behaviors in past six months, January 2021
                                                                                          • Nonprofit donations correlate to household net worth
                                                                                            • Figure 43: Benevolent giving behaviors in past six months, by estimated household net worth, January 2021
                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                                              • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                    • Terms
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Number of US households by net worth, in thousands, 2017
                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Median value of assets for households, by race and Hispanic origin, age and type of household, 2017
                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Homeownership rates by household income, 2010-20
                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Personal Saving Rate, percentage, monthly, seasonally adjusted annual rate, Jan 1970-Dec 2019
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Financial products, January 2021
                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Monthly content consumption, nets by age, January 2021
                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Paid services during pandemic, January 2021
                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Intention to pay for services after the pandemic ends, January 2021
                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Benevolent giving behaviors in past six months, by age, January 2021

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