Upscale, middle-aged families with older children pursuing busy kid-centered lives in satellite cities
Family Fun-tastic comprise upscale families living in satellite cities. Most of the adults are married, middle-aged and highly educated. Their children tend to be older teens and early 20- somethings. These households contain multiple earners with professional and technical jobs, which support their comfortable lifestyle. They live in older, single-family homes in established neighborhoods, often in Midwestern states, where the parents have watched their children grow up and are now preparing to send them off to college. These families may have lived at the same address for more than a decade but to them, time has flown by.
With their older children, Family Fun-tastic pursue busy, kid-centered lifestyles. Their idea of entertainment is going to a theme park, museum or bowling alley. Family calendars are crowded with athletic activities like golf and tennis matches as well as movie nights, school plays, music recitals and sports events. They also make sure to set aside time to be together as a family while reading, exercising, watching TV or surfing the Internet. When they take vacations, they tend to travel by car and stay at discount hotels and motels. Their vehicles of choice tend to be affordable people-movers: mid-range vans, CUVs and SUVs.
Like many in the current economy, when they go shopping, these households care more about bargains on the brands they prefer to buy. To stretch their dollars when buying household goods, they like to buy quality products at discount prices, patronizing stores like Target, Sam’s Club and IKEA. They make a lucrative market for merchants selling toys, games and sports equipment. While they’re late adopters for consumer electronics, they do own gadgets to help them cope with their busy, scattered lives. They often own handheld digital devices and laptops with wireless access and they like to shop using catalogs and the Internet to save time.
Family Fun-tastic may be busy, but they make time for varied media. They like to watch primetime TV, especially sitcoms and crime dramas. Many keep their radios on during the day, listening to news, sports and music stations, particularly those that play jazz, ‘80s pop and alternative rock. They’re less interested in print media, though they do peruse newspapers for news and home furnishing ideas as well as business and sports magazines. These households have already gravitated to the Internet, and they go online to bank, get stock quotes, read product information and check out video game reviews. Fond of information-rich Websites, they like to visit sites like CNN and WebMD.
Like other child-filled segments, Family Fun-tastic are politically conservative. Adults vote Republican and care deeply about their faith. They tend to be traditional in their consumption preferences, drawn to conservative fashion and disinterested in flashy cars. They’re not overly concerned about food and health issues, content to serve their kids sweets and fattening foods if it will make their lives a little easier. They don’t pretend to be experts and observe that friends rarely come to them for advice. On matters of money, they turn to the pros.
Family Fun-tastic consist of predominantly white, affluent families who live outside the nation’s big-city metros. These middle-aged couples tend to be married with older children in their teen years living in smaller and second-tier cities. Many of the adults are highly educated - nearly half have a graduate degree - and earn six-figure incomes from professional and technical occupations in public administration, business, education and science.
Family Fun-tastic households are located in the Midwest, especially in the older neighborhoods of many heartland cities. However, they can also be found in many mid-sized and smaller cities around the country. Nearly nine out of ten are homeowners; their single-family homes were typically built on smaller lots before 1970 and are now valued at close to $250,000, just above the national average. Long-time residents, a majority have been at the same address for over a decade and wouldn’t even contemplate the notion of trading up or moving out of the communities they have grown to love and where they know all their neighbors.
In this upscale Family Fun-tastic, parents and their teens enjoy comfortable and conservative lifestyles. They go to lots of kid-friendly destinations like museums, theme parks, bowling alleys and zoos. These educated parents seek out intellectual stimulation: plays, movies and classical concerts are all on their must-do lists. At home, they’re happy to relax by reading books, doing needlework and playing board games.
Family Fun-tastic also like to stay in shape, working out at home gyms or health clubs where they do weight training and jump on stationary bicycles and rowing machines. They’re frequent spectators at sports matches - professional baseball and basketball and college football and basketball are favorites - but they also like to participate in sports, especially tennis, golf and downhill skiing.
In the marketplace, these families seek out quality merchandise at low prices, and they frequent discount and big-box stores like Sam’s Club, Target, IKEA and Marshall’s. They’re late adopters when it comes to most consumer electronics, but they do own digital TV sets more than the average. Board games, action figures, video games and sports equipment top their shopping lists.
Vacations in this segment tend to focus on domestic destinations, including classic family trips to national parks like the Grand Canyon. Most travel by car and book rooms at hotels and discount motels like Comfort Inn and Best Western. The adults regularly take business trips, and often travel to France, Canada and the Bahamas. To get around, they typically drive entry-level and mid-range CUVs, larger SUVs and minivans. Most buy new and imported vehicles, but not the priciest models.
Family Fun-tastic households share a fondness for a variety of media. They like to watch comedies and primetime dramas on TV, such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “CSI,” and “The Office”. They have solid rates for reading newspapers, particularly editorials, news and TV listings. They also like to keep their radios on during the day to listen to news, sports, talk and music; their favorite artists play ‘80s pop, jazz and alternative. However, they’re a tough sell for most advertising inside their home, trying to avoid TV commercials, especially those targeted at children. They’re more receptive to coupons, billboards and bus ads.
Family Fun-tastic tend to follow mainstream values. They avoid standing out, taking risks or doing unconventional things. They’re traditionalists on most political issues and vote with the Republican Party. However, there are also pockets of liberal voters. They’re mostly moderates on social issues, and concentrate on enjoying their time with their families, trying to stay well- informed and striving for equality. Their faith is important and they regularly attend religious services. With their growing families, they note that they’d like to simplify their life and not have to juggle so many tasks.
Family Fun-tastic place importance on aesthetics in their purchases. They like to wear high- quality, traditional brands and buy top clothing designers, but look to find these fashions or sale or discounted. They consider themselves utilitarian shoppers and view cars as simply a means to get from point A to point B, though an SUV best suits their active lifestyle. They’re not obsessive when it comes to nutrition and health: they may indulge in fattening foods (though they still feel guilty when eating sweets) and they buy generic brands of medicine. Conformity, they say, makes them feel comfortable, and they value their competence, trustworthiness and diligence.
Six-figure incomes, diversified IRAs and high-value life insurance all characterize Family Fun- tastic. They have higher-than-average disposable incomes, which can go far in their modest- sized cities. Many adults are investment-savvy and own stocks, savings bonds, mutual funds and preferred stock. In the thick of planning for their kids’ college educations, parents make sure to fund their 529 College Savings Plans and carry mid-range health and term life insurance.
However, they’ve only begun to think about retirement and have only a moderate amount of money to invest in their IRAs and 401(k)s. Many use credit cards for regular expenses, particularly standard cards offered by Discover and MasterCard - and regularly carry a monthly balance. They make a strong credit market, with many having a mortgage, auto loan, education loan and secured line of credit. They also admit that they’re not great money managers. When it comes to matters of finance, they typically leave that task to professionals.
Despite the many line items on their budget, Family Fun-tastic manage to give to charity at above-average rates. They’re particularly generous with donations to political, educational, environmental and public broadcasting organizations.
The middle-aged adults in Family Fun-tastic are above-average users of the Internet. They go online to get information: product information, video game reviews, travel research and opinion blogs. Accuweather, CNN, Expedia, ESPN, MapQuest, and WebMD are all among their bookmarked sites. They are also found engaging in most other online pursuits, whether it’s banking, getting stock information, searching for a job or checking on the weather. Shopping online is a godsend for these busy families, and they do it now more than ever. With their older children, these households already appreciate the entertainment value of the Internet, and they like to listen to radio stations and play games online. However, they make a mixed audience for online advertising, ignoring email ads while clicking on sponsored Websites and links. They’re less likely to go online via their cell phone than their desktop or laptop computers; nearly half use a wireless connection.