The richer you are the more likely you are to use the internet and mobile applications to create, manage and spend your money.
This is according to a study by wealth management firm SEI, Standard Chartered Private Bank and research company Scorpio Partnership, which surveyed more than 3,400 individuals with an average net worth of $1.9 million (€1.47 million).
Entitled The Futurewealth Report: The digital world of the Futurewealthy, the study found that 56% of respondents believed technology contributed to their ability to create wealth – mainly by making communication easier and facilitating networking, but also by providing more business opportunities thanks to e-commerce and marketing. The figure increased to 76% for the richest individuals in the sample, those with assets of more than $4 million.
This trend is expected to continue in the future, with 77% of respondents – and 92% of the richest – saying the internet would help them create wealth in the next five years.
The wealthiest individuals in the sample had on average four digital devices – computers, tablets or smartphones – and spent more than 48 hours every week online, 13 more than the remaining respondents. They also spent more money on the internet, with an average of $15,400, compared with $5,700 for the rest of the sample.
More than six in 10 respondents thought that online networking was important to wealth creation, and many already used social media to communicate with other wealthy individuals. Seventy-one percent of respondents had a Facebook profile and 31% used LinkedIn.
The study also found that there were differences in the way the rich engaged with technology in Asia and in the west. Wealthy Asian individuals were more active on new media than their western counterparts, spending up to one and a half hours longer online every day.
Seventy-two percent of Asia’s wealthy used apps to manage their banking and financial activities, compared to only 46% of western high net worth individuals.
According to Al Chiaradonna, senior vice-president of SEI’s Global Wealth Services, the study shows that financial services providers should use technology to better connect with their wealthiest clients.
“With the rise of a tech-savvy wealthy segment, businesses – especially wealth management firms, banks and other high-end service providers – need to adapt to the increasing demands for and expectations of digital expertise,” he said in a statement. “[They] need to have the most up-to-date technology platforms and infrastructure.”