Middle-aged, ethnically-mixed suburban families and couples earning upscale incomes
The four segments in Suburban Style are filled with ethnically-mixed, middle-aged couples and families with children enjoying upscale lifestyles. Concentrated in suburban neighborhoods, these households are in the middle childrearing phase of their lives, coping with growing families, mid-level careers and monthly mortgage payments. Despite incomes nearing six figures, these 30- and 40-somethings still face high transportation costs in their suburban neighborhoods. However, they’re happy to be bringing up their children in these middle-ring suburbs known for quiet streets and short commutes to in-town jobs.
Suburban Style aspired to live in a leafy suburb with a nice garden and fresh air. Their homes, often surrounding big cities in the Northeast and South, are well-preserved homes on curvy streets built in the last half of the 20th century. Housing values are slightly above average. Many homes have a basketball goal in the driveway or a Weber grill out back. On weekends, the sidewalks are filled with teens skateboarding, biking, in-line skating and shooting hoops.
With their slightly above-average educations - more than half have gone to college - parents in Suburban Style work at white-collar jobs in business, public administration, education and technology. Many are raising families on upscale incomes thanks to two or even three workers in the household; nearly 20 percent have a young adult living at home. Their solid incomes and built-up equity allow them to qualify for home equity and car loans; two-thirds of households own three or more vehicles. Among these segments, the highest concentration of homeowners has lived at the same address for over a decade.
Suburban Style have rich leisure lives. They spend a lot of their free time engaged in sports like baseball, basketball, swimming and biking. Thanks to older children still at home, this group also enjoys sports, including scuba diving, karate and water skiing. For a night out, adults head to movies, restaurants, plays, comedy clubs and rock concerts. With excursions to zoos, aquariums, bowling alleys and theme parks as well as regularly scheduled piano lessons and hockey practice, it’s not uncommon for parents to put 50 miles on their car every weekend. Many fret that their children are over-programmed and need more unstructured playtime. When they get home, they’re often too tired to care and they end up collapsing in front of the TV. With friends they might play cards or computer games - anything to take their minds off the next bout of activities, errands and appointments.
With their mix of solid incomes and educations, Suburban Style tend to be fashion-forward consumers who like to check out new styles and products. Children influence the marketplace patterns, as seen in the group’s embrace of people-moving vehicles like SUVs and minivans and their tendency to patronize big-box discounters, toy stores and sporting goods retailers. With gadgets galore, these tech-savvy consumers also purchase all manner of electronic devices - smartphones, laptops and MP3 players - and can practically download music, games and TV shows in their sleep. They’re happy to shop online or use catalogs to avoid the traffic jams in mall parking lots.
The busy families in Suburban Style make only an average market for most media. However, they watch premium TV channels like Speed, IFC, BET and TV Land. They spend a lot of time in their cars listening to radio stations that air news, sports and classic and modern rock. Though their interest in most print media seems to be waning, they still like to read magazines that cover parenting, health, food, entertainment and the African-American community. More and more, they’re getting their news and entertainment from the Internet. While they’re ambivalent about advertising on most traditional channels, they do respond to email ads, sponsored Websites and links.
With their strong attachment to their local communities - they belong to unions, churches and PTA groups - Suburban Style are also active politically. They tend to be right-of-center moderates who are slightly more Republican than Democrat in their party affiliation. However, there are few causes that they advocate at high rates. On election night, it’s often a toss-up on how they will vote.
The Gen Xers who make up most of the adults in Suburban Style represent the first generation to make the Internet part of their daily lives. Now fluent in high-speed wireless and cellular technology, they’re active users of digital media for a wide variety of applications. They go online to bank, telecommute, get stock information, bid on auctions, listen to Internet radio stations and get movie reviews. They often visit electronics, fashion, business and children’s sites. Many are comfortable making purchases via online retailers.