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MARKETING TO MIDDLE AMERICANS - US - JANUARY 2018

Published By :

Mintel

Published Date : Jan 2018

Category :

Lifestyle

No. of Pages : N/A

Middle Americans make up nearly half of the population and reflect the average in terms of their household income and level of education. This group is crucial for marketers to understand, given their size, but they can be hard to define because their attitudes and behaviors occupy a middle ground between budget shoppers and affluent consumers. Middle Americans are optimistic that they can achieve their financial goals, but if their incomes fail to grow as fast as their expenses, the American Dream gets further out of reach.

Table of Contents

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Overview
Figure 1: American status groups, November 2017
The issues
Middle American Dreams are within reach…
Figure 2: The American Dream, November 2017
… but are more accessible for those in upper status group
Figure 3: The American Dream, achieved and believe will achieve – Select items, by status level, November 2017
Middle Americans may be financially fragile
Figure 4: Stability and flexibility, by status level, November 2017
Mainstream America has all but disappeared
Figure 5: American attitudes among Middle Americans – Mainstream America, by select demographics, November 2017
The opportunities
Despite differences, Americans rally around freedom, hard work, and equality
Figure 6: American values, November 2017
Life satisfaction is driven by personal factors
Figure 7: Key drivers of Middle Americans’ life satisfaction, November 2017
Upper-status Americans look better and feel better
Figure 8: Life satisfaction – Select items, by status level, November 2017
What it means
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Middle Americans account for nearly half of the US population
Household income catching up to pre-recession levels
Declining rates of marriage may disadvantage some
High cost of education changes the value proposition
Low unemployment drives consumer confidence
Americans can move up the economic ladder – to a degree
WHO ARE MIDDLE AMERICANS?
Nearly half of Americans are in the middle
Figure 9: American status groups, November 2017
Which Americans are struggling?
Figure 10: Lower status Americans, by key demos, November 2017
Which Americans are in the middle?
Figure 11: Middle status Americans, by key demos, November 2017
Which Americans are winning?
Figure 12: Upper status Americans, by key demos, November 2017
MARKET FACTORS
Household income grows in fits and starts
Figure 13: Median household income, in inflation-adjusted dollars, 1990-2016
Lack of affordable housing impedes financial mobility
Importance of a dual income
Figure 14: Married share of population, 2006-16
Value of education
Figure 15: Average annual inflation adjusted price for undergraduate tuition, 2000-15
Low unemployment does little to move wages up
Figure 16: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007- October 2017
Tax code changes set into motion for 2018
MARKET PERSPECTIVE
Even six-figure households can struggle to make ends meet
Student loan debt keeps some treading water
Figure 17: Total student loan debt, Q1 2012 – Q2 2017
Economic mobility
Wealth gap between White and Black Americans grows
Figure 18: Median household income, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2015
Despite some uncertainty, consumers remain confident
Figure 19: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-October 2017
KEY TRENDS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Companies in the middle try a stratified approach
Standard middle-income offerings may no longer fit the bill
Lack of savings may impact financially insecure consumers
Some Middle Americans poised to take advantage of shifting job market
WHAT’S WORKING
Reaching the Middle American consumer
WHAT’S NOT WORKING
Traditional middle-class offerings fall flat for some
Figure 20: The Faces Behind the blades | Inside the Gillette Factory, September 2015
WHAT TO WATCH
A penchant for spending may put Americans at risk
Healthcare is a bright spot in the future labor market
Retailers develop curated value goods
The blessing and curse of the gig economy
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In a divisive time, Americans still have shared values
The American Dream feels achievable to most
Most find satisfaction in their personal lives
Even with a steady income, Americans face financial challenges
TV is a crucial source of information
American pride remains despite uncertain future
Middle class doesn’t equate to mainstream
AMERICAN VALUES
For most, America stands for freedom
In their own words: American values
Figure 21: American values, November 2017
Values are shared between middle- and upper-status Americans
Figure 22: American values, by status level, November 2017
Patriotism means more to older Middle Americans
Figure 23: American values among Middle Americans, by age, November 2017
American perspective differs by cultural background
Figure 24: American values among Middle Americans, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2017
THE AMERICAN DREAM
Most feel parts of the American Dream are within reach
In their own words: The American Dream
Figure 25: The American Dream, November 2017
Upper-status Americans more likely to have achieved their goals
Figure 26: The American Dream, achieved and believe will achieve – select items, by status level, November 2017
Middle American women are closer than men to the dream
Figure 27: The American Dream among Middle Americans – Select items achieved, by gender, November 2017
Saving for the future represents the biggest challenge
Figure 28: The American Dream – Select items, by age, November 2017
LIFE SATISFACTION
Adults find the most satisfaction in their family relationships
Figure 29: Life satisfaction, November 2017
Social and emotional health drive life satisfaction (key driver analysis)
Figure 30: Key drivers of Middle Americans’ Life satisfaction, November 2017
Upper-status adults experience more satisfaction across the board
Figure 31: E*TRADE Commercial – Plane Truth, June 2017
Figure 32: Life satisfaction, by status level, November 2017
Middle American men seem more satisfied with the status quo
Figure 33: Life satisfaction among Middle Americans – Select items, by gender, November 2017
Financial situations are healthy, despite lack of satisfaction in leadership
Figure 34: Life satisfaction among Middle Americans – Finance and government, by age, November 2017
FINANCIAL FLEXIBILITY
A majority of Americans have consistent income and expenses
In their own words: Hitting the jackpot
Figure 35: Stability and flexibility, November 2017
Lower-status Americans experience less stability
Figure 36: Stability and flexibility, by status level, November 2017
Older Middle Americans have more financial security
Figure 37: Financial stability among Middle Americans, by age, November 2017
Marriage lends stability to middle Americans
Figure 38: Financial stability among Middle Americans, by marital status, November 2017
AMERICAN MEDIA
Television remains the most common source of news
Figure 39: American media, November 2017
Middle Americans seek out news across multiple channels
Figure 40: American media, count of sources among Middle Americans, November 2017
High-status Americans more reliant on TV for their news
Figure 41: American media, by status level, November 2017
Gap between generations may be exacerbated by news sources
Figure 42: American media among Middle Americans – Newspapers and social media, by age, November 2017
Broad popularity of news radio paves way for podcasting
Figure 43: American media among Middle Americans - Radio, by select demographics, November 2017
AMERICAN ATTITUDES
American pride runs deep
Figure 44: American attitudes toward the country, November 2017
Work-life balance not worth a pay cut
Figure 45: American attitudes toward their goals, November 2017
Privilege begets pride
Figure 46: American attitudes – Mainstream America, by status level, November 2017
Goals are within reach for those with high status
Figure 47: American attitudes – Financial goals, by status level, November 2017
Data shows perceived narrowing of the middle class
Figure 48: American attitudes among Middle Americans – Middle class status, by age, November 2017
“Mainstream America” may not exist
Figure 49: American attitudes among Middle Americans – Mainstream America, by select demographics, November 2017
APPENDIX – DATA SOURCES AND ABBREVIATIONS
Data sources
Consumer survey data
Consumer qualitative research
Abbreviations
APPENDIX – THE MARKET
Figure 50: Median household income, in inflation-adjusted dollars, 2005-15
Figure 51: Married share of population, 2006-16
APPENDIX – KEY DRIVER ANALYSIS
Methodology
Figure 3: Correlation of factors with overall life satisfaction – Key driver output, November 2017
Figure 4: Correlation of factors with overall life satisfaction among Middle Americans – Key driver output, November 2017

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