Upscale boomer-aged couples living in city and close-in suburbs
The vanguard of the Baby Boom Generation, Aging of Aquarius are now empty-nesting couples between 50 and 65 years old. Most households consist of married couples - more than 80 percent have no children at home - who are finally enjoying the kick-back-and-relax stage of their lives. With their graduate school educations, they earn high incomes at professional and technical positions and often travel for business. Virtually all own older single-family homes in established neighborhoods. Scattered throughout the nation, this segment’s members are found in both large metros and mid-sized cities. One sign of their stability is the high percentage who have lived at the same address for over 15 years.
Aging of Aquarius enjoy active leisure lives. They like to exercise at fitness clubs and do non- aerobic sports such as golf, yoga and sailing. They have a cultured streak and enjoy going to plays, museums and antique shows. They also have enough time and money to travel frequently, both domestically and internationally. With their parenting years behind them, these couples relish the opportunity to take cruises, go to casinos and frequent gourmet restaurants.
As shoppers, Aging of Aquarius are both brand- and bargain-sensitive. They patronize all kinds of brick-and-mortar stores, from high-end retailers to discount clubs, and also buy products through catalogs, direct mail and the Internet. Although they buy luxury cars, they’re not known as early adopters when it comes to consumer electronics, nor are they fashion-forward. Now approaching retirement age, they’re increasingly health-conscious and look for high-fiber foods while avoiding the fast food their kids grew up on. When they shop, they take along coupons clipped from newspapers or downloaded from the Internet.
Aging of Aquarius tend to have eclectic media tastes. They’re print fans who read daily newspapers from cover to cover and subscribe to magazines that specialize in business, news and travel. They go online often to track down news, book travel and research medical subjects. Although they dislike commercials, they like watching TV news, medical dramas, crime procedurals and sitcoms. They still maintain their love of music, though these one-time rock ’n’ rollers now listen to jazz, classical and easy listening music.
No longer the radicals of their youth, Aging of Aquarius appear to have become their conformist parents. They describe their politics as conservative and align themselves with the Republican Party. They’re more liberal regarding environmental issues, however, and worry about pollution. Green products and hybrid cars are popular in this segment.
The evolution of the countercultural generation evident in Aging of Aquarius reflects an economic system that has rewarded these members handsomely. Thanks to their high incomes, they’ve accumulated large portfolios of investments to fund their retirement. With homes they’ve owned for many years, they’re creditworthy risks for home equity loans, insurance and lines of credit. They carry multiple credit cards and pay off their balances each month - charge card- carrying members of the system they once railed against.
With more than 80 percent of household heads between the ages of 50 and 65, Aging of Aquarius are characterized by married couples with high educations. Nearly half of Aging of Aquarius households contain someone with a graduate degree. Most are in the peak of their white-collar careers in public administration, education, health care, law and business. These predominantly white households have grown children, with one in five households containing a young adult.
One of the more widespread segments, Aging of Aquarius are found throughout the nation in large metros and mid-sized cities. Almost all are homeowners of single-family dwellings typically built in the 1970s and ‘80s and valued at around $325,000. Many live in settled neighborhoods that are within a reasonable commute to downtown jobs, restaurants and entertainment. These are established neighborhoods where families have watched their children grow up on quiet streets while attending decent schools. Although their homes may be empty nests, Aging of Aquarius members show no sign of moving. A majority have lived at the same address for over 15 years.
Aging of Aquarius lead comfortable, contented lifestyles. These educated Americans frequent the theater, museums, antique shows and classical music concerts; they’re typically among both the donors and audience members. They enjoy a little nightlife, especially dining out and going to casinos.
The generation that helped launch the fitness revolution still likes to exercise, but their favorite sports tend to be non-aerobic: golf, yoga, sailing and power boating. At home, they enjoy sedentary pursuits like reading books, gardening, woodworking, cooking and playing cards.
Like many older segments, Aging of Aquarius love to travel. They like taking cruises - the Caribbean is popular - and are twice as likely as the general population to have recently visited Italy, France and the United Kingdom. They’re a strong market for most brands of mainstream and discount hotels and rental cars.
While they may have scorned the materialism of their parents, these boomers are now eclectic shoppers, patronizing upscale chains like Ann Taylor and Nordstrom as well as discount stores like Target, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club. In addition to brick-and-mortar stores, they shop by catalog, direct mail, the Internet and even TV infomercials. They buy high-end cars, including luxury sedans, SUVs and sports cars. However, in keeping with their environmental sensibilities, they also buy hybrid vehicles.
Aging of Aquarius are omnivorous media fans, embracing both traditional and new media. They read newspapers - virtually every section - and magazines that cover news, business, science and travel. Among their favorite titles: Architectural Digest, Consumer Reports, Food & Wine and Martha Stewart Living. They're fans of primetime TV - especially news, medical and crime dramas and sitcoms - and they watch cable channels like A&E, Lifetime, HGTV, CNN and TCM. However, they're only average radio listeners, though they like sports and music stations. As for the soundtrack to their lives today, it isn’t just the classic rock ’n’ roll and soul music of their youth. They now listen to classical music, jazz and ‘50s music.
Aging of Aquarius are progressive in their social views, but their politics have taken a turn to the right. They’re almost twice as likely to describe their political outlook as conservative than liberal; indeed, the highest concentration claim to be Republicans. Their youthful rebellion now a fading memory, they’re ambivalent about social issues. They describe themselves as spiritual people - members of the global village - with a practical outlook on life and happy with their standard of living.
Aging of Aquarius haven’t lost their moral compass, though; they support ethical consumerism and state that companies should be good corporate citizens. They make a conscious effort to recycle and like to buy products in recycled packaging. They believe in equality and support a number of causes financially: health, education, the environment and culture as well as political parties. Many have lost the countercultural fervor to experiment with new ideas and social solutions. They are risk-averse, amiable, intelligent and outspoken but by no means revolutionary.
That conservative streak extends to their marketplace behavior. Aging of Aquarius care little about the pursuit of novelty or originality in many of their purchases. They favor traditional clothing styles and are late adopters of most electronics. They are brand- and store-loyal. They only shop for things they need and in stores they really like.
Aging of Aquarius have the high incomes and healthy investment portfolios to lead comfortable lifestyles. At their age, they’re focused on growing their IRAs and 401(k) retirement accounts through aggressive investing. They’re more than twice as likely as average Americans to own stocks, mutual funds, CDs and tax-sheltered annuities. After decades of investing during some of the best bull markets in history, they’re nearly four times as likely to have more than $100,000 in mutual funds.
With their high incomes and built-up equity, Aging of Aquarius make a strong credit market. Their wallets bulge with credit cards - for general use, department stores, gas stations and specialty retailers - and they typically pay off their balances each month. They take out home equity loans and establish secured lines of credit. They also make a solid market for life and health insurance, though with their kids grown and out of the house, they’ve started to cut back the value of their life insurance. To protect all their assets, they’re more than twice as likely as the general population to carry umbrella insurance coverage.
Aging of Aquarius tend to be moderate adopters of technology who regard the Internet as a source of news and information. They have an above-average tendency to go online at home, work and hotels when they’re on business trips. They use the Internet for utilitarian purposes: to get the latest headlines, book travel arrangements and conduct medical research. Their idea of online entertainment is sending an e-birthday card. Their favorite Websites include CNN, Expedia, Accuweather and MSNBC. They’re a mixed audience for online advertising, and use sponsored Websites but ignore email ads. Many acknowledge that their product search results frequently lead to purchases. Today, the Internet is the first place they go for information and it has changed the way they go about investing. Now they can track their portfolios every minute of every trading day.