Middle-aged, childless couples living in affluent metro areas
Couples with Clout are the wealthiest of America’s middle-aged households and happily pursuing the good life. These married, highly-educated, childless couples tend to live in pricey homes in the nation’s largest metros. Many households contain dual earners with high salaries from jobs in management and white-collar professions. They maintain well-diversified investment portfolios and have plenty of insurance to protect their assets, as they’ve accumulated many. Predominantly white with an above-average presence of Asians, they’re typically found either in downtown neighborhoods or close-in suburbs. But this is a mobile segment, always on the hunt for a better job or house, and almost half have been at the same residence for fewer than three years.
Couples with Clout have plenty of disposable income to indulge in travel and leisure activities. Believing they belong to the global village, they’ve had their passports stamped in countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. They enjoy going to the theater, watching foreign films and attending concerts featuring all kinds of music. Museums, aquariums and beaches are all big draws, both in their hometowns and when they travel.
Fitness-minded, these couples devote a lot of their income to healthy living. They exercise regularly at private health clubs and pursue sports such as rock climbing and scuba diving. They’re big on aerobic exercise and enjoy working out on cardio machines, lifting weights and doing yoga. They watch their diet, - eating plenty of fiber and counting calories - but they also qualify as foodies. They take their role as health influencers seriously; their friends often ask their advice regarding nutrition.
Couples with Clout find joy in consumption. They like to buy luxury SUVs and imported sedans filled with the latest high-tech gizmos. Although they’re not the earliest of adopters, they do own a variety of consumer electronics, including DVRs and high-definition TVs. They enjoy shopping at high-end retailers for clothes, athletic gear and interior design products. There’s not a major housewares chain - from Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Pier 1 Imports - that they don’t patronize.
Despite their fondness for material goods, Couples with Clout are only moderately interested in media. They read newspapers and magazines no more than the average, and their taste in radio programming is hard to pin down - including both classic rock and country music. They have selective preferences in TV programming, enjoying business and travel cable channels as well as primetime sitcoms. However, these middle-aged adults have already gravitated to the Internet, and that’s where marketers will find them. They regularly go online to watch TV programs, download music, blog and hang out at social media sites. They’re receptive to online advertising - whether from email or sponsored Websites - and admit that they’ll review the ads before buying products and services.
Couples with Clout feature very affluent middle-aged couples who are predominantly white, though the segment includes an above-average number of Asians. These households mostly contain married couples in their 30s and 40s who’ve yet to start families. Instead, these well- educated Americans - with undergraduate and graduate school degrees - devote themselves to white-collar professional and management jobs in business, public administration, education and the sciences. More than two-thirds of households contain dual-income couples.
Concentrated in the nation’s largest metros, Couples with Clout tend to live in downtown areas and close-in suburbs where the average price tag of their single-family homes tops $400,000. Without childrearing costs - fewer than 10 percent have kids - these wealthy couples have more discretionary income for housing than other affluent households. About a quarter spend more than half a million dollars on their homes. While many of their homes were built in the last twenty years, these homeowners have only just recently moved into them. As upwardly mobile professionals, nearly half of the households have resided at the same residence for under three years, and 80 percent have lived in their homes for fewer than five years. These couples are always on the lookout to upgrade their living situation and may only settle down when, or if, they choose to start a family.
Without the cares of childrearing, Couples with Clout describe themselves as risk-takers who want to sample what the world has to offer. They like to travel frequently and far away. Two- thirds regularly travel abroad, with above-average rates for visiting Europe, South America, Mexico and Canada. Upscale cruise lines are also popular. These couples are also big fans of the arts, frequently going to the theater, taking in foreign films and attending concerts, where they enjoy everything from classical to country music. While they like exhilarating sports like karate, rock climbing and scuba diving, this segment also has one of the highest rates in the nation for yoga.
Consumption patterns reflect the deep pockets and upscale tastes of this segment. They buy the latest electronics - DVRs, MP3s and high-definition TVs - and fill their family rooms with gaming equipment and workout machines. They tend to patronize high-end retailers like Nordstrom, as well as Macy’s and Costco. They like their cars to express their hard-earned status: premium SUVs, upscale sedans and hybrid cars and trucks - preferably outfitted with satellite radio and GPS systems.
Couples with Clout are only moderate media consumers. They spend the average amount of time reading newspapers and magazines, though they will subscribe to business, health and entertainment magazines. Among their favorites: Forbes, Food & Wine, Men’s Health and InStyle. They also enjoy reading books. They’re more into TV than the average American, with a strong preference for cable networks like CNN, CNBC and National Geographic as well as sitcoms such as “The Office,” and “Two and a Half Men”. But these Gen X couples have mostly moved their media allegiances to the Internet. They concede that the online world has them reading and watching TV less.
Couples with Clout are independent types who think of themselves as citizens of the world. These somewhat progressive Americans are political Independents. They tend to have liberal social values, describing themselves as tolerant of social issues. They are foodies with a broad perspective, as they are devoted both to healthy diets and gourmet cuisine. They are not often members of civic groups; indeed, they say that instead of focusing on local issues, they’re more concerned about people in other parts of the world and prefer to participate in a global culture. They act on their global conscience, giving to charitable causes in support of education and child welfare.
As shoppers, however, they express the traditional values of an upscale market: they’re brand loyal, especially when it comes to luxury goods, and they have a strong concern for appearance, believing that both their car and their clothing should catch other people’s attention. They’ve got it and they think it’s their duty to flaunt it.
Although they describe themselves as only average adopters of new technology, they do excel in the areas of health and nutrition. They like to try new foods and drinks, and even prefer food that’s presented as an art form. They’re committed to staying fit and having a healthy diet - they’re big on eating fiber and exercising regularly - and like to snack on healthy foods. And they recognize their role in offering nutrition advice to their friends. They’re twice as likely as the general population to be interested in "research gathering".
Couples with Clout seem to have it made: more than a third earn over $200,000 a year and many own designer homes and plenty of assets. They have diversified portfolios of stocks, money market accounts and mutual funds in their IRA and 401(k) retirement accounts. About half maintain brokerage accounts. With their strong credit ratings, they make a lucrative market for loans, including home mortgages, auto loans and secured lines of credit. Many are also receptive to insurance products, owning annuities and policies for term life, health and disability. They’re more likely than average Americans to use debit and platinum charge cards in the marketplace. These households have a high propensity to pay off their balances in full each month.
Couples with Clout are Internet veterans. More than half go online using wireless access. Many use the Internet for phone service. There’s virtually no online activity that they don’t pursue at high rates - from banking and checking out real estate to participating in chat forums, blogging and doing medical research. These Americans appreciate the entertainment value of the Internet and go online for gaming, watching TV programs and downloading music. They’re twice as likely as the general population to outfit their computers with webcams, microphones and video controllers. They regularly visit Facebook, Netflix, Craigslist and Amazon. Unlike other wealthy segments, they’re comfortable with online shopping and advertising. They’re not reticent about clicking on email ads and sponsored Websites, and they think that it’s safe to buy products from different Websites.