Mid-scale baby boomer singles and couples rooted in established suburban communities and approaching retirement
Found in older, inner-ring suburbs, Rooted Flower Power are singles and couples in their 50s and 60s whose children have flown the coop. Many have good educations and well-paying jobs that support relaxed, middle-class lifestyles. In their established neighborhoods, built before 1960 to accommodate the postwar baby boom, they typically live in compact houses now valued at a modest $155,000. Nevertheless, these baby boomers have done a lot of living - more than half are divorced, widowed or have never been married - and are now entertaining thoughts of retirement. With their mid-level jobs, low expenses and dwindling mortgages, they have the discretionary income to enjoy plenty of home-based leisure activities. With members of this segment mainly in the in the workforce and with stable lifestyles, no one is even considering retiring to an assisted-living community; the vast majority have lived at the same address for more than a decade.
In their quiet neighborhoods, Rooted Flower Power spend their free time around the house reading books and magazines and pursuing traditional hobbies like woodworking and needlework. They spend enough time in their gardens to consider joining a garden club, but they’ve given up their health club memberships and aerobic sports, although they will take a yoga class to stay flexible. These older suburbanites don’t want the hassle of driving to downtown nightlife, so they don’t really go to bars and nightclubs. However, they do try to go out to dinner at least one night a week, typically to a casual dining restaurant like Red Lobster or Olive Garden. They will also go on the occasional gambling junket to a casino or take in a concert; eclectic in their musical tastes, they appreciate everything from classical to country music.
Rooted Flower Power are careful money managers both in their investment strategy - with lots of conservative CDs and annuities - as well as in their bargain-hunting behavior at the mall. They’re hardly materialistic and like to buy functional clothes and tried-and-true styles at stores like Meijer and Talbots. They still enjoy driving to stores, but will also shop at home through catalogs. They rarely buy the latest consumer gadget or fancy sports car. They think foreign cars are superior to American ones and gravitate to mid-range sedans and subcompacts.
Describing themselves as informed consumers, Rooted Flower Power make a strong media audience. They subscribe to a daily newspaper to keep up with local events and enjoy reading a number of magazines - from Health and House Beautiful to Reader’s Digest and Rolling Stone. These commuters listen to the radio every day, tuning in news talk programs and stations that play a variety of music. They’re still not entirely comfortable with the Internet, often going online using dial-up access and doing little more than sending email or checking out a news site. To wind down at night, they still prefer watching TV; they catch the nightly newscasts after dinner and the range of sitcoms and dramas into the night. These armchair travelers also like seeing the world through the eyes of gastronomes on the Travel Channel and Food Network.
Despite their fondness for media, Rooted Flower Power are a tough audience for marketers. They’re privacy-sensitive and have placed their names of do-not-contact lists. They have significant ad negativity and claim they don’t make purchases based on ads. Politically, they tend to be left-of-center Democrats who worry about pollution and the ethical lapses of Big Business, but they’re also sensitive to family values. Firm in their faith and civic activism, they belong to a variety of local groups and volunteer for community causes.
With eight in ten household heads between the ages of 50 and 65, Rooted Flower Power are rapidly maturing. Some 40 percent of households contain married couples - a relatively low rate - and more than half are home to singles, divorced and widowed individuals - twice the national average. Less than five percent of all households still have children living at home. The adults in this segment are predominantly white, have good educations - above-average for both high school diplomas and college degrees - and well-paying jobs. The highest percentage is employed in white-collar management, health care and technical professions, but a significant minority also work in sales and the service sector.
Widely scattered throughout the country in the older, more populous inner-ring suburbs, Rooted Flower Power are original homeowners who are now empty-nesting and approaching retirement. More than 90 percent own single-family homes, typically older Cape Cods, ranches and ramblers on small lots and valued at a below-average $155,000. Half were built before 1960, more than three-quarters before 1980. Originally built as suburbs to accommodate the post-war baby boom, their neighborhoods have been overtaken by the metro sprawl. Many are not pleased by this transformation, but with their easy commutes to jobs and mortgages close to being paid off, they show no signs of wanting to leave. Nearly two-thirds of all households have lived at the same address for over ten years.
Rooted Flower Power pursue laid-back lifestyles. Many like to stay home when they have free time to read books, garden, cook and do crafts like needlework and woodworking. With their average budgets, they’re not big on nightlife, and their idea of going out is meeting for dinner at a Red Lobster, Olive Garden or Cracker Barrel restaurant. They’re also not interested in fitness activities; they participate in few sports, though they will roll out their mats for a yoga class. A big splurge is going to a concert, and these boomers have wide-ranging musical tastes including classical and country music.
Rooted Flower Power may have the time and money, but they’re just not that into shopping. They’re price-sensitive consumers who tend to visit a store only when they need to buy something. They always look for a bargain rather than a brand, clip coupons and fancy themselves informed consumers who check out products before making a purchase. Like their passion for worn jeans, they like clothes that are functional but last a long time and they’re eclectic in their retail tastes, which range from Family Dollar and Kmart to Meijer and Talbots. Somewhat tech-shy, they go to few electronics stores to buy anything beyond DVD players or small, high-definition TV sets. They are receptive to mail-order and buy a lot of merchandise - books, collectibles and health and business magazine subscriptions - without leaving their homes.
Rooted Flower Power are intellectually curious and enjoy many kinds of media. They like to read newspapers from cover to cover as well as news, science, sports and music magazines like Readers Digest, Rolling Stone, Golf Digest and Popular Science. With their commutes to work, they make a strong radio audience, tuning into stations that play classical and adult contemporary music as well as news talk programs. However, marketers can most often reach these households through TV. They like cable channels such as AMC, IFC, Travel and TCM; they enjoy opinionated commentators no matter their political stripe - from Glenn Beck to Keith Olbermann - and they watch a lot of newscasts, sitcoms and game shows. While these households have only moderate travel rates, they travel vicariously with Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern.
Rooted Flower Power are slowing down but staying politically active. They’re left-of-center and more likely than the general population to be Democrats. Technology’s role in society worries them, and they support recycling, reducing air pollution and other green issues. Always willing to volunteer for a good cause, they’re active in the community and belong to arts groups, veterans’ clubs and unions. If they feel strongly about an issue, they’ll pull out their picket signs and walking shoes and join a protest rally.
As they enter retirement, Rooted Flower Power are seeking balance - to them, time and new experiences are more important than money. They tell researchers that they’re interested in learning about digital media, other cultures and the arts. Willing to trade travel frequency for quality of location, these consumers prefer once-in-a-lifetime, culturally-stimulating destinations in Europe. When they travel domestically, they prefer to travel by rail and road so they have time to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. Although they mainly consider themselves Democrats, they’re somewhat conservative on social issues. They state that their faith is important, and they have average rates for going to religious services.
Rooted Flower Power earn middle-class incomes of more than $60,000, but they still lead financially conservative lives. Worried that the stock market is too risky, they stick to investing in CDs, annuities and money market accounts. They’ve built up solid credit histories and carry a wide variety of standard and prestige credit cards, paying off the balances each month. They like the protection of insurance, making them a good market for whole-life policies and home and auto coverage. Because they’re trying to maintain their older homes, they’re particularly fond of home improvement loans, taking them out at nearly three times the national average. These households always set aside money for charitable donations, giving to a wide variety of causes: cultural, political, environmental and public broadcasting. The only time they seem to throw caution to the wind is on occasional gambling excursions: these Americans like to buy lottery tickets and visit casinos.
The older Rooted Flower Power nearly missed the digital revolution. A significant percentage still use dial-up access to reach the Internet, and many still don’t get the fascination with social media. However, they go online for utilitarian purposes: banking, sending email, reading news, getting stock quotes and finding medical information. Their favorite Websites include time.com, weatherbug.com, cbs.com, kmart.com, tvguide.com, weighwatchers.com and fanfiction.com. They’re receptive to online ads, often clicking on email ads and links that lead to a purchase. For them, the Internet is more like a home library and communication tool; with many missing their grown children, they have one of the highest rates in the nation for sending electronic greeting cards.