Commentary

Affluent GenXers Overtake Affluent Boomers

According to the 2015 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, for the first time ever the affluent population of the United States has more Generation Xers than Baby Boomers. Overall, Affluents have a median income of $145K, and a mean income of $227K.

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The survey defines “Affluent” as adults living in households with at least $100,000 in annual household income, a group that reflects the top 23% of American households. According to Chief Insights Officer Dr. Stephen Kraus, “We are seeing a true changing of the generational guard in the affluent population… ”

American Affluents by Generation (At Least $100K HH Income)

 

Share of Affluent Population

Median Self-Reported Annual HH Income

Generation

Millennials (18-33)

25%

$516K

GenX (34-50)

37

552K

Baby Boomers (51-69)

33

913K

Seniors (70+)

5

1.42M

Source: Ipsos, September 2015

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In its 39th consecutive year of studying the lives and lifestyles of financially successful Americans, the study details the $2.7 trillion dollars in annual consumer spending by Affluents, with the largest expenditure categories being (in order):

  • Automotive,
  • Home/garden,
  • Personal insurance,
  • Travel,
  • Education and electronics.

The survey also provides a deeper understanding of the attitudes, mindsets and media habits of each generation of Affluents:

  • Affluent Millennials are heavy social media users, averaging a median of 10.4 hours weekly, nearly double the 5.5 hours for Affluents in general
  • Affluent Millennials are decidedly not “too cool” for Facebook, as Facebook leads across generations in both the percentage using and time spent
  • Affluent Millennials are far more likely than Affluents in general to use other social media networks, particularly Instagram (54% Affluent Millennials using in the previous week, vs. 29% of total Affluents) and Snapchat (35% vs. 13%)

Affluents own and use a wide range of brands, from mainstream to luxury, and shop widely across the retail spectrum, online and offline, and at both mass outlets and luxury boutiques. Affluents display a strong value-orientation (79% agree, “good value for the money is more important than price”), but also express a willingness to pay a premium for quality across a variety of categories, says the report.

Among Gen Xers, the report says that this often-overlooked generation is not only the largest generation of Affluents, but is more multi-faceted and less monolithic than some might expect. Across many measures, younger Xers act more likely Millennials, while older Xers are psychographically more similar to Boomers.

Age 40 appears to be a tipping point, says the report. Xers under 40 are far more interested than older Xers in social media, entertainment trends and organic food. For example, 74% of younger Xers prefer to stream music online instead of buying CDs or downloaded music compared to just 45% of older Xers.

Though Baby Boomers have lost their spot as the largest generation of Affluents,  the survey reveals that Boomers remain a critical target for media and marketers in many respects. Boomers who responded to the survey reported a median household net worth of $913K, far surpassing the $552K of Xers and the $516 of Millennials. And, though Seniors are only 5% of Affluents, they have even higher net worth, a median of $1.42 million, according to the report.

The study also provides an industry leading-perspective on how Affluents consume media across traditional and new media platforms, including magazines, television, websites, social media, mobile apps, radio, podcasts and more. This new and comprehensive perspective on cross-platform media use finds that, across more than 290 measured media brands, the average “total brand footprint” was 50% greater than the audience for the brand’s “core” platform.

Evan Borak, Senior Vice President of Ipsos Connect, and Head of its Audience Measurement Group, summarized the conclusions by noting that “.. One-fourth of the U.S. population now holds three-fourths of the net worth, making this segment more important to media and marketers than ever before… “

For additional information from Ipsos, please visit here.

 

 

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