Affluent couples and multi-generational families living a wide range of lifestyles in suburbia
A haven for multigenerational families, Generational Soup is home to a mix of affluent older couples - nearly three-quarters are from the Baby Boom Generation - and families with young adults and aging seniors. Most live in suburban homes an easy drive from the nation’s big cities, and many households have multiple breadwinners. These college-educated workers hold a range of white-collar, sales and service jobs. While Generational Soup are predominantly white, this segment includes a higher-than-average concentration of people from Asia and South America. Many have lived at the same residence for more than a decade, long enough to raise children and see them return to the nest.
The bi-modal age groups make for some unusual leisure patterns. Many of the older adults enjoy laid-back activities like cooking, woodworking, reading books and going to plays and antique shows. The younger residents make Generational Soup a strong market for bars, comedy clubs and rock concerts. Together, both groups like to travel widely and keep fit by playing tennis and skiing as well as going to fitness clubs for aerobics and workouts on cardio machines. Fond of attending both college and pro sports events, segment members of all ages like to gather at tailgating parties.
As shoppers, the members of Generational Soup tend to have upscale tastes and shop at Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek and Dillard's. However, like many in the current economy, they look to maximize their dollars and also shop at stores like Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx and Stein Mart. When buying goods for their sports activities, they visit Sports Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods. They also use catalogs for buying women’s clothing, computer equipment and home decorating items. Many consumers describe themselves as early adopters who favor smartphones for work and big-screen TVs at home. And they like to fill their home offices with plenty of computer equipment for telecommuting and gaming. But they’re also careful about spending and look for sales and coupon offerings. These households want to save and invest their money to build a nest egg for their retirement.
Generational Soup qualify as a mixed media market. They’re fans of newspapers and magazines that cover entertainment, business, news and sports. They like to watch a wide variety of TV programming - everything from Adult Swim to DIY. They tune in to radio stations more than average, with different age groups listening to golden oldies and easy listening music, or ‘80s rock and adult contemporary. Mostly, though, Generational Soup are web-savvy fans of the Internet. They go online to track job openings and visit magazine Websites as well as for gaming and downloading podcasts. They admit that they’re transferring their allegiance from traditional media to the many offerings online.
To reach the diverse groups in this segment, marketers may need multiple messages. While the 50-something parents describe themselves as traditionalists with conservative political views, the younger adults in the household back more progressive social issues. This is a rare segment where members have above-average rates for both preferring conservative clothes and seeking out cutting-edge technology. If there’s one area where everyone shares similar views, it’s their attachment to family. They link their status to the family’s success, and messages that reflect the priority of the family would be well received here.
With predominant ages in the 50s and the 20s, the households of Generational Soup are sprawling; they’re more than three times as likely to have a young adult living at home, and they also often have an aged parent living there as well. Most of the parents here have attended college - two-thirds possess a bachelor’s degree, and more than 40 percent a master’s degree. More than half of households have two or three wage-earners working in professional and technical occupations or sales and services. Ethnically, this segment has an above-average presence of residents from Asia and South America.
Generational Soup are found in a variety of suburban settings - from inner-ring to fringe areas - surrounding the nation’s largest metros and concentrated in California, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Most of their homes are beginning to show some age, having been built after 1980, but they’re still valued in the upper $300,000 range. Fortunately, these mature single-family dwellings have enough bedrooms to accommodate the young adults and aging elders who share the homes with those in their 50s and 60s. This is a stable segment, with more than half of residents having lived at the same address for more than a decade.
With its mix of old and young, Generational Soup feature wide-ranging lifestyles. They enjoy reading books, collecting ornaments, playing cards, cooking and doing woodworking. Many like cultural activities and go to plays, museums, antique shows and dance performances. Given the number of young adults here, this segment also goes to bars, nightclubs, comedy clubs and rock concerts. At home, these younger residents read gaming magazines, join fantasy sports leagues and crank up their radios to listen to modern rock.
Both population groups like to travel, and this is a strong market for cruises, all-inclusive resorts and holidays at both domestic and foreign destinations, especially in Italy, Mexico and Canada. Generational Soup like to stay fit, and their athletic pursuits range widely: from tennis, golf and swimming to mountain biking, downhill skiing and karate. Pro and college sports events also bring the two groups together.
As consumers, they describe themselves as “behavioral greens” who recycle, buy products in recycled packaging and drive hybrid cars. They also own mid-range sedans and SUVs and the occasional near-luxury vehicle - typically imports bought new. They’re early adopters, owning handheld digital devices, video gaming systems and big-screen TVs; this segment often owns more than five TV sets. They shop by catalog, and order women’s clothing, do-it-yourself equipment, crafts, home decorating items and computer equipment. Online shopping is also popular.
Generational Soup are eclectic media consumers. They tune in to cable networks like CNN, HBO, HGTV, Adult Swim, DIY and ESPN and listen to classical music, golden oldies, easy listening, ‘80s rock and jazz on the radio. They’re avid readers of newspapers, especially the business, entertainment, news and sports sections, and they often pick up USA Today. They like reading Consumer Reports, People, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook and Car & Driver. However, they admit they spend less time reading magazines and watching TV. For many, the Internet is now their prime source of entertainment.
The mature members of Generational Soup are, in many respects, old school. They like spending time with their family, think attending religious services is important and try to sit down with their family at dinner each night. Politically, their views also tend to be right-of-center. Moderates and Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly 2 to 1.
These consumers don’t mind sharing their opinions with others - especially when it comes to shopping advice. Generational Soup describe themselves as early adopters, especially when it comes to electronics, and they’re willing to pay anything to acquire the latest gadget. However, they’re also price-sensitive shoppers who carry coupons and look for sales. Indeed, they admit that they occasionally patronize stores just because of the coupons they offer.
Nevertheless, Generational Soup are otherwise opposed to most forms of advertising. They try to avoid watching TV commercials and have little interest in print ads. In a telling understatement, the adults in this multigenerational segment concede, “I find it difficult to say ‘No’ to my kids”.
Generational Soup are into capital accumulation. They earn solid, six-figure incomes and eagerly sock away as much as possible in their IRAs and 401(k) retirement accounts. They have diversified portfolios of investments that include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money markets and preferred stocks. They’re more than twice as likely to contribute to 529 College Savings Plans, helping to get their college-aged children out of the house. These established couples often tap into the value of their older homes for home equity loans and lines of credit. They’re only moderately likely to purchase insurance, but they like to carry term life, umbrella coverage and high-value car insurance. These middle-aged parents make a good credit market, and they carry a number of gold credit cards, but they typically pay off the entire balance each month.
The Internet has had a big impact on the lives of Generational Soup. With the presence of younger and older consumers, they use the Internet for nearly every kind of activity: gaming, shopping, banking, downloading podcasts, searching for jobs, tracking stock information and reading magazines. They like to purchase products online and are receptive to Internet ads, whether in email, sponsored Websites or Web page banners. It’s hard to find a popular Website that they rarely visit. Fox News, MSNBC, CareerBuilder and Wikipedia are all well-surfed sites among Generational Soup. They tend to access the Internet through their desktop or laptop from multiple sites - at home, work, school, libraries and hotels - and a high percentage use a wireless connection. Because this segment is filled with multiple workers, many households have home offices networked to a wide range of accessories, including scanners, webcams, microphones and inkjet printers. About one in seven uses an Internet phone service.