Buoyed by stock market gains as well as improvements in the housing and job markets, optimism among affluent Americans has reached a six-month high, according to Ipsos MediaCT's February 2013 Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer.

The study also found that more than one in three (37%) Affluents—adults living in households with at least $100,000 in annual household income—multitask regularly: Two-thirds (66%) say multitasking contributes to their productivity.

Below, additional findings from the February 2013 Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer from Ipsos MediaCT.

Affluents constitute 20% of the US population and hold 69% of the privately held net worth in America, according to the report. They are vitally important for many marketplace categories, including luxury, automotive, financial, technology, and travel.

Some 43% of Affluents were optimistic about the US economy in February, up from 40% in December 2012 and 34% in October 2012. By contrast, only 36% of Affluents described themselves as pessimistic in February.

Ultra Affluents—the 2-4% of Americans with at least $250K+ household income, are even more optimistic: 48% say they are somewhat or very optimistic about the US economy, and only 31% say they are pessimistic.

Overall, more than one-half (52%) of Affluents now believe they will be better off in 12 months, up from 41% in December 2012.

Luxury Spending

Luxury spending among Affluents will likely remain at current levels; however, spending among Ultra Affluents is expected to be stronger, particularly in categories related to travel, apparel, accessories, watches, and jewelry.

Multitasking and Technology

Multitasking is a way of life among Affluents, who tend to be early adopters of the latest technology, such as tablets and smartphones.

Among the Affluents surveyed:

  • 27% say they multitask "almost constantly," and an additional 37% multitask "regularly."
  • 66% agree "multitasking helps me be more productive."
  • 51% have engaged with social media about a television program while watching that program.
  • 58% of smartphone owners "regularly" or "almost constantly" use their smartphone while watching TV, and 66% would find it "extremely" or "very" difficult to live without their smartphone.
  • 53% of tablet owners "regularly" or "almost constantly" use their tablets while watching TV, and 33% would find it "extremely" or "very" difficult to live without their tablet.

About the data: The February 2013 Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer was conducted online February 1-8, 2013 with 1,055 adults age 18+ with household income (HHI) of $100K+ (“Affluent”). The sample included 192 Ultra Affluents, defined as adults 18+ with HHI of $250K+. The data were weighted to reflect US Census data.

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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.