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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » September 17, 2008
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Profile of Poland's Affluent Class
September 17, 2008   
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The Millward Brown SMG/KRC market research institute carried out a survey into the interests and consumption habits of the affluent in Poland in 2007 and 2008. The institute selected respondents with a net monthly income of at least zl.5,000 for single persons and zl.7,000 for households including two or more people. The poll was carried out over the internet because access to information technology is closely linked to revenue and more than 85 percent of affluent Poles use the internet. However, they were recruited by personal contact or over the telephone. The poll questioned 684 individuals in 2007 and 310 in 2008.

What does affluent mean?
It is difficult to determine the exact number of affluent people in Poland as there are no reliable data in this area. According to cautious estimates by SMG/KRC, the group of people with incomes of over zl.7,000 per household numbers some 500,000-600,000, or 3 percent of the country's adult population.

The group researched is as varied as Polish society as a whole-men and women, couples and single persons, old and young, business owners and employees. Despite that the pollsters attempted to draw the portrait of a typical affluent Pole.

A typical person in this group is 30-35 years old and has college education. They are married, with one child or two children, and are a manager or director at a private financial or trade company. One in four runs their own company, and many work in the telecommunications, tourism, culture and entertainment sectors, or hold a senior-level position in the public administration.

They live in their own mid-sized apartment (60-70 square meters in area) in a big city (Warsaw, for example), or in a single-family house in a suburb. More than one-third of respondents are thinking of moving house or buying a new apartment.

A typical member of this group is an ambitious, persistent and energetic optimist. These traits have helped them succeed when they were launching their professional careers in the 1990s, a period of dynamic business growth in Poland. At the same time, they cultivate values such as family and free time. They believe money is not the main indicator of success in life.

An affluent person takes care of their health and appearance, and chooses good-quality products, remaining loyal toward specific brands. These are often middle-shelf brands that are neither cheap nor luxurious. An affluent person can afford a high standard of living without much sacrifice, but they tend to buy reasonably priced brand-name products rather than expensive luxury goods.

However, some aspects of consumption are particularly important to these people, and they do not try to save on them. These include modern, innovative services. It seems that affluent Poles attach particular importance to staying on top of things when it comes to world affairs, and staying in contact with friends and colleagues at work.

A typical affluent Pole is open to new trends and technology. Their house is filled with IT and other electronic equipment. They have at least one desktop computer or notebook, a TV set, a stereo, an mp3 player, a fixed-line telephone, and one or two mobile phones.

An affluent professional spends a lot on modern goods and services. Access to information is very important for them. They have internet access at home, which is extensively used by all household members on a daily basis. They have modern computer equipment and internet access. For example, 70 percent have a notebook, over one-third connect to the internet over a wireless Wi-Fi network, and nearly 10 percent use wireless modems.

The respondents realize that money comes and goes, so in order to ensure themselves and their family financial safety, they invest their surplus funds. A large part of this group (78 percent) invest their savings in investment funds. The average amount stashed away in this way is zl.20,000.

Practically all respondents have a bank account and use other bank services. For example, some 53 percent of respondents declare they have a credit card, compared with just 10 percent for the total population. Many of those polled buy apartments and houses on credit. Nearly 30 percent have a mortgage, and 90 percent of respondents are thinking of buying an apartment or house plan to take out a mortgage loan.

To sum up, only a small percentage of affluent Poles like to show off their wealth. Most live in affluence but often choose not to show their status. Respondents use luxury products only where they consider that important, while in many other areas they are frugal. For many respondents, money is rarely a goal in itself and the sole source of satisfaction and happiness. For them, money is just a means of achieving their prime goal, which is stability while being able to indulge their passions and interests.

Piotr Jakubowski and Marek Młodożeniec, Millward Brown SMG/KRC:
Why did we poll affluent Poles? Who are the people who are considered rich in Poland? We wanted to find out if this is a closed and socially alienated group of oligarchs and moguls, or aristocrats cultivating their noble family heritage. If this group is dominated by ambitious big-city singles under 30, artists and freelancers. Or whether they are not much different from us, but just live in better conditions-say a nice couple of thirty-somethings with a child and a dog, living in an 80-square-meter apartment in a building with security across the street who shop at the same hypermarket as we do, but just drive there in a newer and bigger car.
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