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Rich Shoppers Are as Bargain-Hungry as Less Affluent

Penny-pinching isn't just for the poor.

When it comes to shopping, the wealthy are just as interested in clipping coupons, hunting down deals, and keeping spending in check with shopping lists as less affluent consumers, according to the findings of a recent surveyby SymphonyIRI.

Paul Bradbury | OJO Images | Getty Images

In fact, wealthy shoppers in the survey were more likely than the average shopper to say they will continue to pre-plan their shopping trips in the coming year.

Pre-planning shopping trips is the most ingrained money-saving behavior that has become more widely used since the recession , according to Susan Viamari, a consumer insights expert at SymphonyIRI.

Making a plan before heading to the store suggests wealthier consumers — or those with household incomes of more than $100,000 — have a stricter approach to spending money than the average consumer.

However, more than half (58 percent) of wealthier shoppers make unplanned purchases after seeing products and deals at the store, SymphonyIRI found.

They also are more likely than the average shopper to try new products, so that even with a more thoughtful approach to spending, there are opportunities for retailers and consumer packaged-goods companies

The biggest opportunity may be to create products that appeal to the wealthy's new frugality by being less expensive than services they used in the past, but are either more indulgent or of higher-quality than products currently in the mass market.

For example, 34 percent of wealthier consumers are making fewer trips to the spa and hair salon to save money and live within their budget, Symphony IRI found. However, 23 percent said they were using more at-home beauty treatments. To appeal to these shoppers, beauty companies may want to add more premium hair color or skin care treatments that will appeal to shoppers who want salon-style results.

There's also a chance to appeal to foodies who are eating fewer meals at restaurants. Companies can create products to make quick meals at home when convenience matters or offer more indulgent ingredients when they want to mimic a gourmet restaurant experience at home.

Retailers also may want to take note: wealthier shoppers may be embracing ways to save money at a smiliar pace as average Americans, but they are less likely to choose a store based upon low prices being available.

Not surprisingly, wealthier consumers also are more likely to use online coupon websites such as woot.com and Groupon, or smartphone applications to save money.

Nearly one-third of wealthy visited these types of sites and 42 percent download coupons from manufacturer websites, SymphonyIRI's latest MarketPulse survey showed.

But don't count the store circular out, 63 percent of both wealthy and average shoppers still consult the circular to find out what's on sale either before or at the store, according to the survey.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Christina Cheddar Berk on Twitter @ccheddarberk.

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