Middle-aged, mid-scale couples in rural towns and fringe suburbs working to enjoy their active lifestyles
Destination Recreation are mostly middle-aged couples who’ve recently settled in exurban towns and fringe suburbs. Although some of the communities with high concentrations of members are well-known resorts - like Hilton Head, S.C., and Killington, Vt. - these Americans aren’t the fabulous rich visitors who arrive annually. Most of these households are middle-class, between the ages of 35 and 50, and working at sales, service-sector or blue-collar jobs. Many have jobs that help to keep these recreational and tourism destinations ticking. They may be couples, singles or divorced individuals, but nearly all are homeowners and most are childless. They tend to be mobile and have purchased their new and unpretentious homes, which are typically furnished by IKEA.
Destination Recreation typically contain dual earners in order to support their middle-class lifestyles. They’re a big outdoorsy segment who can’t find a sport they don’t enjoy; they like to hunt, fish, boating and hike through the parkland near their homes, and swimming, tennis, football, and skiing balance out some of their sporting interests. They also appreciate city nightlife and make the drive into towns often enough to go to nightclubs, museums, plays and concerts - usually of the rock ’n’ roll variety.
Discriminating consumers, these households look for products that are low-cost and long-lasting. They tend to shop at discount clothing stores, looking for bargains rather than designer brands. When they go to a car dealership, they literally kick the tires to make sure the vehicle - often a pickup or SUV - can handle the rough roads. Having only recently moved in to their homes, they’re still buying furnishings to fill the rooms, and they’re typically shopping big-box retailers. They’re the kind of folks who subscribe to Consumer Reports to compare products and their safety ratings before making a purchase.
Destination Recreation are eclectic media consumers, with average interest in traditional media and above-average use of the Internet. They like the programming on cable channels like Animal Planet, Speed, The Science Channel and Oxygen. They’re fond of listening to music on the radio - whether it’s country or adult contemporary. They like to subscribe to magazines that indulge their interest in cars and home crafts. Mostly, though, they’re turning to the Internet for their information and entertainment, whether it’s watching videos, playing games or hunting down obscure tools and vintage goods. If they can’t find what they want from mainstream retailers, these households enjoy buying and selling on eBay.
To reach this audience, marketers should know that they’re pretty laid-back and apolitical. They belong to no particular political party and they typically describe themselves as middle-of-the- road. There aren’t many hot-button issues in their neighborhoods; they rarely worry about crime, pollution or global issues. In fact, they tell researchers they’re mostly content and not interested in making waves - either on their job or at home. These folks subscribe to a "live and let live" philosophy.
Destination Recreation are mostly middle-aged couples who have recently moved to rustic small towns and suburban fringe neighborhoods. Nearly two-thirds are between the ages of 36 and 45; another third are between 46 and 50 years old. These households feature a mix of family types with high percentages of married couples, singles and divorced individuals. Relatively few have children at home. One striking characteristic of this segment is that members have modest educations. Only 16 percent have a college degree, with most adults reporting either a high school diploma or some college. Not driven to work within corporate America, they are more driven toward a mix of blue-collar and service jobs in manufacturing and sales that are situated in places that offer more of a recreational setting.
Destination Recreation are found in a mix of small towns and fast-growing suburbs scattered around the country, especially in the West, upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. Many have only recently moved to these mid-scale areas - nearly three-quarters in the last five years - settling in to new and affordable single-family homes worth about $180,000. They’re drawn to resort towns like Hilton Head, S.C.; off-the-beaten-path retreats like Bethel, N.Y., where the Woodstock Festival was held; Wasilla, Alaska; and Henderson, Nev., a sprawling suburb of Las Vegas. Most do not live in the yuppified districts of these towns; rather, Destination Recreation tend to be hardworking residents of new and unpretentious housing on the outskirts of these communities.
Destination Recreation have rich leisure lives. From their town and suburban fringe settings, they’re not too far from big-city culture and wilderness sports. Away from work, they pursue a wide variety of activities: visiting museums and nightclubs, going to zoos and state fairs, enjoying hiking and tailgating. They’re frequent attendees of plays, comedy clubs and rock concerts. They try to eat out regularly, indulging their fondness for comfort food by patronizing restaurants like Red Robin, Outback Steakhouse, Fuddruckers, On the Border and Joe’s Crab Shack.
They may be in the throes of middle-age, but Destination Recreation like to stay fit. They work out in home gyms and health clubs, using cardio machines, weights and doing aerobics, and play softball and tennis. They are seriously into wilderness sports, especially fishing, hunting, hiking and skiing. These rugged households don’t mind hiking into a secluded area to set up camp next to that perfect fishing lake. They are very sports-minded and have chosen destinations to live where they can enjoy their passions.
In the marketplace, Destination Recreation are discriminating consumers. When they shop for a car, they want to know how much horsepower is under the hood and whether the suspension can handle rough roads. In clothing stores, they look for function rather than styles and tend to stick with favorite brands for decades. Price-conscious, they like to get what they need and then quickly leave the store so they won’t be tempted to make an impulse buy. They patronize discount stores like Dollar General, Dress Barn, Big Lots and Burlington Coat Factory. Still furnishing their relatively new homes, they rack up purchases at consumer electronics stores, IKEA and Pier 1 Imports. Given their outdoorsy inclinations, Destination Recreation buy a wide range of sporting attire and equipment.
Destination Recreation are an average media market. They're an average audience for traditional media - TV, radio and print - and above-average for the Internet. They watch for primetime TV sitcoms, reality programs, dramas and, especially, how-to shows. Their top-rated magazines include Consumer Reports, Motor Trend and Martha Stewart Living. They may be only a middling audience for radio, but they listen to everything from modern adult contemporary and jazz to traditional country and pop alternative. They are average subscribers to a daily newspaper, admitting that they now turn to the Internet to get their news.
Destination Recreation are somewhat parochial and not very opinionated. They express little concern about global issues, crime or pollution. They consider their health and diet low priorities. Their opinions on many social issues are mainstream. Politically, they’re middle-of-the-roaders who belong to no particular party.
Still, these households are mostly optimistic and want to enjoy life with as little effort as possible. They’re not driven to pursue challenges or change; they’re fine with not pushing to reach the top of their career. Having only recently settled in their new neighborhoods, they make friends easily but they’re rarely involved in community activism. They express little willingness to volunteer for a good cause. If the silent majority still exists, they’d be members, except for the fact that they’re not much for joining groups. In fact, they belong to few community groups other than their local union.
Although Destination Recreation have decent, mid-scale incomes of under $65,000, they still feel financially insecure. They’ve yet to start growing their savings and confess to knowing little about investing: less than half own any investments and only a quarter are adding to a 401(k) program. They do not own many stocks, mutual funds or money market accounts. Many couples support their lifestyles through dual-paychecks and by using standard credit and debit cards, but they don’t always pay off their charge card balances each month. Many feel financially squeezed due to mortgages, auto loans and education loans that they’re still paying off. But they are able to acquire life and health insurance at average rates.
Destination Recreation mostly use the Internet for communication and commerce. They go online for instant messaging and chat forums as well as banking and auctions. While the Internet isn’t their main source of entertainment, they do visit Websites to watch videos, connect with friends on social networking sites and play games. They use their home computers for shopping and telecommuting, typically going online through wireless connections but not via their cell phones. These households spend a fairly significant amount of time online visiting a variety of Websites - from eBay and ABC to Facebook and MySpace.