Young, multi-ethnic singles living in Midwest and Southern city centers
No lifestyle has a higher percentage of singles than Striving Single Scene, a way station for young city singles before they marry, settle down and have families. Found in big cities throughout the South and West, these mobile 20-somethings tend to be well educated and employed in entry-level sales and service-sector jobs. A disproportionate number are Asian or African-American, and nearly all are renters in older apartment buildings close to the urban action. Without cars, they’re happy to walk or take public transportation to bars, health clubs, boutiques and movie theaters.
These young singles lead entertainment-intensive leisure lives. They like to go out at night to clubs and concerts. They travel to Caribbean beaches, and they make it a habit to visit a new destination every trip. They like to take adult education courses to make new friends as much as to improve their skills in painting and photography. They try to look their best by working out regularly and taking aerobics and yoga classes. In their apartments, they’ll relax with a book, invite friends over for dinner or listen to pop or rhythm and blues on the radio. Having integrated the Internet into their lifestyle, they frequently go online to download music, watch videos and play games.
Most consumers in this segment can’t afford high-end stores, but that doesn’t stop them from patronizing boutiques like Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch when they’re running sales.
These consumers like to stand out and typically buy the latest fashion in season. Self-described early adopters, they enjoy trying out the latest health food or smartphone. That doesn’t leave a lot of money for savings, and these households don’t often acquire investments. Many are more concerned with paying down their student and car loans than thinking about saving for retirement.
With their out-and-about lifestyle, Striving Single Scene are only moderate fans of media. They’ve given up on traditional newspapers and magazines, though they do keep up with current affairs and pop culture by visiting various news Websites. They put in their ear buds to listen to radio stations on the way to work, and many support public radio. When they’re not going out at night, they watch primetime TV shows on cable networks like VH1, TBS, Bravo and Showtime - they turn to the Internet to download music, stream videos or keep up their Facebook conversations with friends.
Striving Single Scene are an ambitious bunch who spend a lot of time at work and want to advance as quickly as possible. While that doesn’t leave them much free time, they still find ways to support liberal causes and the Democratic Party. They have solid rates for registering to vote, and many are willing to volunteer for a good cause or a worthy protest if the issue moves them.
With the highest concentration of singles - at 95 percent - Striving Single Scene are young, unattached Americans living in city apartments. Over 90 percent are younger than 35 years old. Almost as many are never-married singles without children. There’s a significant concentration of minorities in this segment, with high rates of Asians and African-Americans. They tend to be well-educated, with nearly three-quarters having gone to college. As recently minted college graduates they’ve found entry-level jobs in sales, construction, public administration, health care and professional services.
Striving Single Scene tend to live in transient neighborhoods throughout the South and West. With their downscale incomes (under $42,000), they can only afford compact apartments in high- and low-rise buildings completed between 1960 and 1990. Some 96 percent are renters. Many of the buildings are dilapidated, and residents don’t particularly want to stay there forever. In fact, a majority just moved in during the last year, and 80 percent have stayed at the same address for fewer than three years. Among these diverse households, many know they’re just passing through on their way to better jobs and bigger apartments.
The young singles in Striving Single Scene lead carefree lifestyles. Although work takes up a lot of their time, they’re active in the dating scene and often go out at night to bars, restaurants, cinemas, dance performances and concerts featuring all kinds of music. They like to travel, especially by plane or cruise ship to the Bahamas, Jamaica and Mexico. They work out regularly - jogging, lifting weights, taking aerobics classes and playing tennis. When they finally wind down in their apartments, they like to read books, listen to music - pop, grunge and rhythm and blues are all popular - and cook. They also pursue creative hobbies such as painting, playing a musical instrument and doing photography; many are enrolled in adult education courses to improve their talents.
Striving Single Scene may have limited budgets, but that hasn’t inhibited their fondness for shopping. They bypass many of the large discount chains in favor of trendier mall boutiques like Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. These price-sensitive shoppers are willing to wait for sales before they venture into a mall. They typically use the Internet to plan a major shopping excursion, but their tendency to buy things at the spur of the moment can undermine their best-laid plans.
Striving Single Scene appreciate media more for entertainment than for information. They listen to drive-time radio, particularly stations that play easy listening, Spanish and contemporary Christian music. They’re a strong market for primetime TV, especially cable networks like MTV, Bravo, BET, HBO and E!. They’ve pretty much abandoned print media, with few subscribing to newspapers and magazines. However, these Internet-savvy consumers now get the news and even some of their favorite TV shows online. These Americans say that the Internet is now their prime source of entertainment.
The young members of Striving Single Scene are ambitious, motivated and bent on personal achievement. Self-described workaholics, they want their work to be meaningful - not just a job, but a career. Their big concerns are getting ahead in their careers and achieving financial security. Many of them are already talking about starting their own businesses. Unafraid of challenging themselves, they say that they like to pursue novelty and change. Conformity, they say, makes them uncomfortable.
As the younger residents of city neighborhoods, these Americans are nearly twice as likely as the general population to describe themselves as “very liberal”. They support liberal ideals and tolerance in religious matters; most are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Despite their recent arrival in their neighborhoods, they’re willing to volunteer their time for a good cause and get involved in the community. They also donate to environmental groups, arts organizations and public broadcasting. Additionally, they’re more likely than average Americans to join a protest if they feel strongly about an issue.
Notwithstanding their low incomes, Striving Single Scene tend to be early adopters who crave status recognition. When they buy a car, they choose it mainly on looks - and they love foreign cars tricked out with options. They make a point of buying the latest clothing styles with every new season. They’re generally the first among their friends to check out what’s new and hot - whether it’s a new store, diet, restaurant or smartphone.
Striving Single Scene are one of the more financially challenged segments. With their incomes under $42,000 and few income-producing assets, they have few savings or investments other than savings bonds. Many are still paying off loans for their schooling, cars and personal bills, and they don’t want to go further into debt. Unless they’re obtaining group life insurance through their employers, they’d likely to have no insurance whatsoever. Some are trying to save enough money for a down payment on a house, though paying off their credit card purchases each month typically takes precedence. In the juggling act between credit and debit cards, they usually don’t end up with much savings for the future.
Striving Single Scene are fans of digital media, going online for a variety of purposes: banking, dating, shopping and looking for jobs and apartments. Among their favorite Websites are meetup.com, blackplanet.com, sports.yahoo.com and snagajob.com. They use the Internet as a communication tool for blogging, instant messaging and staying in touch with friends and relatives through social networks. The Web is also one of their main sources of entertainment: they download music, watch videos and play games. They access the Internet from anywhere they can - home, hotels, school and work. They’re also early adopters of mobile Internet services; they’re more than twice as likely as average Americans to go online using their cell phones. These cost-conscious consumers even use the Internet for Voice over IP phone services. They admit that they’re getting less sleep because of their preoccupation with the online world.