As we have written before: “Influencer marketing is a BIG deal. With it, we target well-known individuals. And their effect on the purchase decision is high for some consumers (followers).” Also: “With a groundswell of interest, there are many interpretations of what influencer marketing really means.” Thus, let’s take a look at A.T. Kearney’s influence versus affluence report. It is insightful and forward looking.


Background: Influence Versus Affluence

According to Kearney’s Michael Brown, Greg Portell, and Hana Ben-Shabat:

“America’s business landscape is being  transformed. Why? Due to the collision of two different types of commercial and social organization. (1) Affluence, the traditional approach to growing markets and establishing social status. Based on mass production, distribution, and media models. (2) And the challenger? Influence, the ability to instantly move markets by amplifying and reaching an individual voice. Or a community of voices.”

“As a result, this paradigm shift is the cornerstone of Kearney’s study of U.S. consumers. And the study is part of A.T. Kearney’s ongoing Consumers@250 research. It seeks to describe what American consumers and businesses look like in 2026. At that time, the nation celebrates its 250th birthday.”


To access Kearney’s full report, click the image. Consumers@250 Study. America’s Next Commercial Revolution: Influence vs. Affluence.

A.T. Kearney's Influence Versus Affluence Report -- Consumers@250

In sum, three themes emerge:

  1. The shift from Affluence to Influence arises from a perfect storm of demographic shifts, changing values, and hyper-connectivity. Therefore, this permanently rewrites the rules of global consumer consumption.
  2. As a result, the mass market of the future will thrive on influence, personalization, and trust.
  3. Finally, brands and retailers can appeal to future consumers and take advantage of technology to influence and sell. And the ability to engage consumers in the digital world will be more crucial.”


To further assist readers, Kearney devised a slideshow. It visually shows lots of trends.



13 Replies to “A.T. Kearney’s Influence Versus Affluence Report”

  1. My internship in the marketing department of a shoe brand deals heavily with influencer marketing and it is my main job title as well, so this post is especially interesting, and hopeful, as there are a few around the office who don’t particularly “believe” in influencer marketing. I definitely think it is important and have personally seen sales happen through the use of influencers that I have gotten to post. Especially in an age where social media is so heavily utilized, influencer marketing can really only grow.

  2. This was a very informative post. The translation of marketing as we know it is changing right in front of our eyes. This is business-life changing yet everyone is aware with what is happening. Soon, and by Kearney’s report, within 9 years the different marketing atmospheres will be equally head to head. Right now influencing marketing is on the rise, but soon this marketing tactic could someday be the number preferred strategy over the traditional affluence marketing. Will that era be a good or bad thing for humans? Will hyper connectivity of technology and media be the ONLY way to reach each other? Will the acquisition of individual or a special group of voices be the most important beings markets need to focus on rather than a mass audience?

  3. I think the hardest part about influencer marketing is that it’s appreciated by younger generations for its “real” and “organic” nature, yet by contracting a person to post about your product, you’ve taken away both of those things. Instead, you have to make the content appear to be unscripted because Gen Zers can easily identify an ad. Many platforms even make influencers identify via hashtag if a post was paid for because they want full disclosure for their users. My question is if trust is so important to younger generations, how can they maintain affinity for influencers that appear to be “selling out”?

  4. This post is very interesting. I agree that demographic shifts are an important factor towards influence. That factor drives how many products are sold/approached in the world of marketing. It’s crazy to think how that aspect could change in less than ten years. I believe that this is the right way as influencers are what should dictate the market in a capitalist country.

  5. This was an interesting article. It is interesting the movement from affluence to influence marketing. In today’s age, where technology continues to develop and social media is more involved in everyday life there is no surprise of this movement. Companies can interact with consumers more then ever, whether its for the good or not.

  6. I find the movement from affluence marketing to influence marketing very intriguing. The post was very informative. I think this is a great move. Like Francesco stated, companies now have the ability to interact with consumers more, whether it is seen as a positive or negative is subjective.

  7. I find it extremely interesting that 2026 is projected to be the first six-generation consumer market. The evolution of technology and social media is what adds an interesting element. The older generations, baby boomers and the silent generation are less apt to respond to social media and technologically advanced advertisements than the millennial or Gen Z generations. It will be interesting to see how companies will appeal to the vast spectrum of consumers in the future that respond differently to the same advertisements and the mediums through which they are promoted.

  8. It is a very interesting article that brings me some new opinions of future marketing and it also estimate that the marketing influence force will be important in the future. I agree with those opinions and it will brings a better market.

  9. Influence is definitely important, especially in the social media age. With so much exposure available through influencers, this is a bus you would have to be insane to miss. I also think it is important to remember that affluence marketing is still very powerful, just that influence marketing is too.

  10. I definitely agree that the United States’ change in demographics are responsible for the increase of influence marketing. Especially with the increased use of technology, firms have the opportunity to influence their potential consumers on a personal basis, which is an effective way to increase sales and promote a product.

  11. Since when did being two gay dads mean you can’t have traditional roots fiscally when it comes to seeing the market. To be honest if you didn’t see this coming you’re an idiot. The first a remember was Tom’s shoes where the owner of the company was everywhere and he hit a nerve with people but he was always in the spotlight. People aren’t becoming a brand, people are the brand now.

  12. The shift from affluence to influence is not surprising but I still think they will go hand in hand. The influence movement will definitely be bigger because of the technology age we are in which allows for the market to be more interactive with the consumer and see what they want. Now a days it is easier to reach out to a community of voices because of social media. Therefore, it is easier to track what consumers like.

  13. As much as I am fascinated by the influence model, I believe that it will not replace the affluence model entirely, rather, the two will coexist simultaneously and will target different market segments. The influencer model will continue to grow for the time being as the influence of technology grows and marketers refine their models which allow individual users to be targetted. However, considering how macroeconomic trends can be observed over the individual microeconomic markets, the affluent model will still have its place in marketing globally shared platforms. Highway bill-boards and mass marketing will not go away.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.