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The participation of wealthy online consumers in social networks dramatically increased to 60% in 2008, from 27% in 2007, according to The Luxury Institute‘s latest WealthSurvey, “The Wealthy and Web 2.0.”

According to the report:

  • Participation levels of online wealthy consumers in leading social networks are 16% for MySpace, 13% for LinkedIn, and 11% for Facebook.
  • The wealthy average membership in 2.8 social networks, with an average of 110 connections.
  • They are intolerant of opt-out techniques: 65% say having their personal data given out without permission would cause them to disconnect; 63% have an interest in “do not track” lists.

“Being connected is second nature to these overachievers,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “We are pleasantly surprised at the rapid acceleration in the over 55-year-old wealthy consumers, whose participation increased fivefold, to 49%.”

“The implications for luxury goods and services firms are profound. While some in the luxury industry are still debating e-commerce, search and banner ads, the majority of their customers have leaped into the online dialogue. Luxury needs to catch up quickly,” Pedraza said.

About the study: A national sample of 805 wealthy American consumers, with an average income of $287K and average net worth of $2.1 million, was surveyed online. Survey results are weighted to match demographic and net worth profiles of the same audience according to the latest Survey of Consumer Finances from The Federal Reserve.

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