According to a new report from the Luxury Institute, today's affluent mobile customers are getting into smartphone applications, with 34% having downloaded apps onto their phones and 11% reporting they have plans to do so soon.

So what apps are these customers go for? The free ones, of course. As it turns out, even though they can well afford to pay, 39% of affluent customers using mobile apps only download non-paid apps. Says the report, "having to pay extra for downloaded applications is the leading barrier to more widespread use of mobile apps." That may go for the rest of us too.

As cited by AdWeek today, the Institute's report found that affluent customers who have downloaded mobile applications have an average of 13 apps on their device and use 7 of those apps regularly. 57% say they use mobile apps "multiple times per day" and they average 13 instances of app usage per week.

The report, which actually came out in late September, polled smartphone users whose income was at least $150,000 per year. The average income was around $247,000 in this group.

Somewhat surprisingly, this group didn't have exclusive, high-end tastes when it came to apps. In fact, the most popular apps in the group were weather-related, news and gaming apps - the same apps average smartphone users prefer.

Also interesting, the affluent app users, while familiar with apps from big-name consumer brands (76% cited familiarity), often chose not to download them. And only 29% said they downloaded apps connected to luxury goods. Some specific examples: only 9% downloaded apps from BMW, 9% downloaded apps from Mercedes-Benz, 8% download Louis Vuitton apps, or those from Chanel or Ralph Lauren.

What This Means for Developers

Developers' big takeaway from this report is this: if you want to target the "affluent" customer, you don't need to create an app associated with luxury brands, goods or the affluent user's lifestyle. These wealthy app users...well...they're just like us! They use pretty much the same apps everyone else does. So your goal should be building a great app, not a great app "for rich folks."

After all, if you really want to make money from your app, in-app purchases may be the way to go. According to a recent report, in some cases, in-app purchases generated more revenue than ads. Putting it all together, if you want to target the affluent but also make money from your app, you should probably launch a free app monetized through virtual goods and in-app upgrades, not a paid app focused on what you think the affluent user will like.