How The Other Half Hacks

WHEN IT COMES TO COMPUTERS, the rich are different. According to a new Roper Organization survey commissioned by Conde Nast Publications Inc., Americans earning over $100,000 a year are big users of computers and online services. Of the 1,000 polled who had a median family income of $142,000, 56% owned PCs, vs. about 40% of overall U.S. households cited in a recent Yankelovich Partners Inc. study. And 23% of the rich used online services--mostly for work--vs. 13% of Americans in general.

But the rich differ from one another, too. They fall into five categories defined by their attitudes: "Trailblazers," who say they find new technology stimulating, were the biggest PC owners, at 84%. "Contented Affluents," who are mainly interested in home, family and preserving wealth, are the least high-tech, with only 41% owning PCs. Other categories are the value-minded "Savvy Affluents," at 55%; the status-seeking "Strained Affluents," at 49%; and the image-conscious "Luxury Lovers" at 48%.

Each group has its own hot buttons, so PC makers should know their segments. That way they won't try selling a BMW to someone who prefers a Ford Explorer, says Stephen Jacoby, corporate marketing director at Conde Nast.

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