Want to Catch an Affluent Consumer? An iPad Is Good Bait

By Christina Cheddar Berk, News Editor

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- No wonder an iPad still remains somewhat of a status symbol. A recent study has found that most of the users of the newest version of the iPad are confined to wealthier, coastal states.

Although Apple's ( AAPL) new iPad has been on the market for about a month, it already accounts for about 9% of all iPad traffic, according to Chitika Insights, the independent research arm of online ad network and data analytics firm Chitika.

After seeing this rapid rate of adoption, Chitika took a closer look at the traffic coming from these devices. Using Census Bureau information as well as data pulled from the Chitika network, the firm discovered a close relationship between states with high median income and a high share of new iPad traffic.

California, Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, D.C., and Washington State topped the list of states with the highest share of new iPad traffic, Chitika said.

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Considering the price of the device starts at $500 and can cost as much as $829, it may not be surprising that people with higher levels of discretionary income are the ones purchasing it. But the study drives home a point that retailers should keep in mind: If you want to reach affluent consumers, your website better be equipped to handle traffic coming from these devices.

"They are the consumers with a higher median income and an increased level of discretionary income," said Gabe Donnini, Chitika's data solutions engineer. "They are able to spend more on entertainment and spend more on luxury goods."

Luckily, it appears that retailers have taken the hint. About 30% of retailers polled in a new survey say they are planning to invest more than $100,000 in mobile commerce, according to a report in Internet Retailer. That study, which was conducted by the research and advisory firm the E-tailing Group, shows merchants are getting more aggressive with their mcommerce strategies.

No doubt the big increases in traffic coming from smartphones and tablets are behind this. The report said 26% of retailers are currently receiving 10% or more of their online traffic from mobile devices, while another 25% report they get between 5% and 9.9% of their traffic from these gadgets. In 2011, only 9% of retailers had 5% or more mobile traffic.