September 29, 2015

I am constantly telling my clients that even if baby boomers and seniors are the bulk of their business, they must focus more on younger consumers. Already there are more Millennials (18-33) than Boomers. Now a 2015 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, reveals that for the first time ever the affluent population of the United States has more Generation Xers (34-50) than Baby Boomers.

Overall, Affluents have a median income of $145K, and a mean income of $227K. 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… ”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.

American Affluents by Generation (At Least $100K HH Income)
  Share of Affluent Annual HH Income
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

In its 39th consecutive year 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%).

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. For additional information from Ipsos, please visit here.

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