While, Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” which premiered last week may have been entertaining. Luxury marketers might want to start watching on a serious note and considering targeting the real housewives and their spending habits.

A study reveals that African Americans are a largely untapped and widely overlooked demographic despite having $29.8 billion in purchasing power. The “Marketing to Affluent African Americans: Strategic Insights for Reaching an Untapped Market,” study consisted of online interviews with affluent African Americans as well as a series of regional focus groups held in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Washington, DC. Covering insights on the behaviors, attitudes, opinions and spending patterns of affluent African Americans, defined as individuals earning at least $75,000 annually.

Just who are these people? Watch “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and find out! Actually, the individuals in the study are identified as “Royaltons,” which refers to American affluent ethnic consumers. African American Royaltons (AARs) refer to a small but wealthy group of influential people who purchase items such as Rolex watches, luxury cars and who frequently travel internationally.

The mastermind behind the study is Andrea Hoffman, CEO of Diversity Affluence (www.diversityaffluence.com), a consulting company that specializes in providing marketing insights on affluent ethnic consumers. Hoffman notes that the intelligence gathered from researching AARs will enable marketers to more effectively reach some of the most powerful and untapped consumers in today’s marketplace.

About AARs:

— Royaltons conduct extensive research on luxury items before they buy.
— Decisions influencing their purchase included tailored advertising, personalized service and event marketing at the retail level.
— AARs are aspirational, and focus on trading up to more luxurious brands.
— Fashion is an expected luxury and is equally important to both men and women.
— Men’s fashion spending is focused on career and casual wear, while women spend money on purses and shoes.

“AARs are a compelling audience because they have money to spend, economic clout and word of mouth influence among their peers that could redefine social networking as we know it,” Andrea Hoffman said. “Marketers must educate themselves about this demographic’s needs, interests and economic significance.”

According to Hoffman the best way for luxury brands to determine where they stand in the marketplace with this constituency is to conduct a marketing audit to determine the extent of their existing relationship with the AARs or how to reach them. An audit, she added, can determine all the opportunities available to reach AARs and is another way to launch or expand a diversity initiative.

Additionally, she warns that marketers who rely on worn and dated marketing techniques, use the same celebrities or irrelevant print media images, and copy or incorporate a series of cliches as substitutes for more advanced forms of marketing will fail to make a lasting impression on AARs.

My advice, just watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo! Comes on tonight Tues 9/8c

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