Luxury Marketing Trends: Women Earn the Big Money in Wealthy Families — And Decide How It's Spent

The New York-based Luxury Institute surveyed wealthy women from U.S. households earning at least $150,000 a year about their economic situation, personal aspirations, family responsibilities and companies and industries successfully marketing to them.

Wealthy women are economic engines within their families, with 67% employed or running their own businesses; 41% report earning more than half of their family’s total income, up sharply from 27% who were bigger breadwinners in 2008. Women have been earning college degrees at higher rates than men since 1985, and educational attainment has produced economic muscle: median salary of the working women surveyed is $181,000; 66% earn more than $150,000, and 20% have annual incomes of $300,000 or more.

"Luxury executives should know that given the trends we see now, we predict that the Millennial women will achieve parity or surpass the achievements of their male counterparts in managerial, entrepreneurial, income and net worth levels in the next two decades," said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza, in a news release.

Despite career prowess, 90% of women 35 and older say that their most important aspect of life is family, and 34% say that their long-term career goal is to retire and enjoy more family time. Women control a majority of spending in 78% of households, with food (85%), clothing (78%), shoes (78%), and vacations (62%) also especially dominated by women.

"Shifting gender roles require brands in traditionally male dominated industries to connect with strong, successful women, but new marketing campaigns are not enough," added Pedraza. "Companies must drive engagement through channels like social media and one-to-one communication with empowered sales professionals who serve as brand ambassadors."

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