Understanding the business elite
The business elite is the highest earning, wealthiest and most influential group of people in European business, writes, James Torr, director, Ipsos MediaCT.
The business elite
The business elite have always been at the cutting edge of international business, leading their companies to profitability, and is even more so during these difficult economic times.
Ipsos MediaCT has been surveying this powerful and difficult to reach group since 1973. Over the years we have seen a number of trends develop - the business elite have always been high consumers of media and are tech savvy.
These trends were particularly notable this year, as smartphone and tablet ownership increased among the group.
Smartphone ownership now stands at 76% among the business elite, double that of the general population.
This group also has a significantly higher ownership of tablet computers: 42% of the business elite own a tablet, compared to only 11% of the British public.
As the members of the business elite are frequently on the move, and have a strong need for the most up-to-date information it is not surprising that they also actively engage with their mobile devices.
Seventy and seventy-eight percent, respectively, of smartphone and tablet users had used their device to access media brands.
However, what is most interesting are the brands that the business elite chooses to access.
Despite the plethora of different apps and websites available the business elite appear to be remaining faithful to the same brands - in general the total brand reach has remained unchanged, despite the different platforms.
What we have seen, however, is an increase in multiplatform behaviour. On average, 36% of those who access media content do so via more than one platform.
The business elite’s willingness to embrace mobile platforms has not replaced other media - 93% use print brands, 97% watched the TV brands measure by the survey, and 83% accessed media brands via a computer in the last month.
This suggests that the business elites have a strong relationship with their favourite media brands, and so seek them out through whichever media platform is most convenient at the time.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the business elite’s ability to adapt has been instrumental in their business success.
This year in particular we noticed a change in attitudes to the financial crisis - the business elite no longer views it as a temporary bump in the road, but rather a long term trend to which they must adapt.
This year saw an increase in business elites' average budgets to €8.9 million, the highest since the recession began.
There is a greater realisation that budgets cannot be cut continuously. Instead the business elite views innovation as being more important than ever, particularly given the pace of change, and that investing in the future is vital.
This increase in spending has been spread across a number of key areas. One such area is technology, such as software, data and voice networks, which would foster innovation, better communications and data analysis.
Interestingly, companies also seem to be spending a significant amount of money moving their operations to locations that can offer lower operating costs and new opportunities to emerging markets.
Despite increased levels of investment in moving operations to developing markets, this year saw a downturn in the amount of business conducted by the business elite in developing or emerging markets for the first time in a number of years.
This reversal is particularly evident in China. The continued slowdown we have seen in China this year, at first put down to the weak global economy, is now due to domestic demand. It now appears as though the business elite’s interest in China may be waning.
The business elite have also employed this business savvy and financial astuteness in re-evaluating their own financial portfolios.
As a result, the business elite’s average net worth has soared this year and now stands at €798,669, the highest since the recession began.
Their average salary is now €157,326, and the number owning a watch worth more that €7,500 is up 34%.
As always the business elite have high disposable income meaning they can continue to spend as they did previously - they can walk into a shop and make an impulsive purchase.
The business elite remain some of the most powerful business people, with huge spending power on both a personal and professional level.
As well as a being a key audience for business to business marketing, they also represent the driving force behind sectors such as finance, luxury goods and cars, airlines and hotels.
James Torr, director, Ipsos MediaCT
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