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Millennials on the Road to Affluence

The Next Consumer Spending Boom Is Scheduled to Arrive in 2026 Thanks to Millennials on the Road to Affluence

Is your brand ready to profit from the Boom or will it go Bust?

Very soon a generational shift is coming to the consumer market, as the Baby Boomers move aside and Millennials take over as the prime customers for marketers at the high-end and low-end of the market and everywhere in between. That means marketers must learn a new bag of tricks to appeal to the vastly different tastes, attitudes and perceptions of the emerging consumer generation for marketing luxury brands.

Who are the Affluent Millennials?

The affluent are at the top 20% of incomes within the U.S. consumer market. This is the top quintile. Over 40% of all consumer spending comes from these 20%. That makes them the ‘heavy-lifters’ in the economy – across all segments of the market. Their greater income means they can shop at the high-end of the market, the low-end and everywhere in between. Beginning in 2015, the Millennials will start to reach their peak earning years, but it will take ten or so years before their growing numbers in affluence brings the potential for a consumer economic boom.

Millennials on the road to affluence don’t want their parents’ or their grandparents’ luxury brands. They want their own!

It will bring challenges to brands that aren’t prepared, as well as opportunities for brands and marketers can adapt to the emerging generation of newly affluent Millennials. Unity Marketing has just published a study, Millennials on the Road to Affluence, as a map to bridging the gap with today’s core consumers and tomorrow’s affluent Millennials.

This study answers the following critical questions for marketing success as the Millennials reach their peak earning and spending years, from 35-54 years of age, in 2015-2034. Marketers will gain valuable new insights into the next huge consuming generation:

  • How demographics of Millennials on the road to affluence and the current population projections by age 2012-2040 identify 2026-2029 as the peak years to tap the generation’s customer potential.
  • How Millennials career aspirations and lifestyle impact their earning potential.
  • How their parents’ economic status impacts Millennials’ purchasing power and spending potential.
  • How Millennial’s lifestyle aspirations, such as aspirations for marriage, children & family, and the goals for their lives, such as financial security, happiness, success in career, etc, influence their future as consumers.
  • What consumer lifestyle goals and aspirations are most important to Millennials and how can marketers position their brands around those aspirations?
  • What achieving Millennials’ lifestyle aspirations will mean for their happiness, satisfaction, contentment and ways marketers can align their brands with those feelings and experiences?
  • How Millennials view emerging consumer business models, such as the new sharing economy, plays in their lives as consumers?
  • Social media and how it influences Millennials in their purchasing and shopping decisions?
  • Ways that Millennials manage their finances, the role of debt as it impacts their spending power and their preferred money-management strategies, such as coupon clipping, pre-purchase research, sales shopping, etc.?
  • This study does deep-dive into Millennials and their current attitudes about luxury
  • What luxury means to these Millennials and where dangers lie for marketers that fail to take their prejudices and predispositions about luxury into account?
These insights into what luxury means to Millennials also will help brands align their values with the most positive attributes that Millennials associate with luxury.

A detailed analysis is included that compares Millennials on the road to affluence with GenXers who are already affluent to identify key generational differences in how they behave as consumers.

Valuable insights are delivered about how Millennials shop and buy. This is insights marketers can take action on immediately and not have to wait till this generation reaches affluence:
  • What categories of spending give Millennials the most pleasure and how they view shopping — as a pleasure or a curse?
  • What stores they like to shop in and whether they prefer to shop online, in-store or some other way?
VALS® types

Finally, this report is enhanced by an analysis of the VALS® segments that make up the Millennials on the road to affluence.

These insights reveal the most prominent VALS type found among Millennials on the road to affluence — Achievers — and how to appeal to their special consumer attitudes and predispositions to capture their future spending. In addition, the VALS analysis shows how Innovators are the prime targets for luxury marketers today, but trouble may be looming for targeting this type with more luxury offers. The VALS analysis also offers advice on ways to capture the spending power of Thinkers, luxury’s sale shoppers, and Experiencers, which represent an important segment of young Millennials. And why luxury marketers need to forget about Strivers who don’t have good potential but could waste a lot of luxury marketers’ time and attention.


Overview
The next consumer spending boom is scheduled to arrive in 2026 thanks to Millennials on the road to affluence -- Is your brand ready to profit from the Boom or will it go Bust?
This study does deep-dive into Millennials and their current attitudes about luxury
Valuable insights are delivered about how Millennials shop and buy
VALS® types help marketers understand the underlying motivations and attitudes of Millennials
A very select sample of Millennials were surveyed: Millennials on the Road to Affluence
Methodology
Figure 1: Age of Survey Respondents
Research Objectives
Marketers' Take Away>>
Figure 2: Population Projections by Age 2012-2040
Demographics
Age
Gender
Figure 3: Distribution of Genders by Age
Educational Attainment
Figure 4: Educational Attainment by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Figure 5: Educational Attainment 18-44 year olds, U.S. Population
Marketers' Take Away>>
Figure 6: Type of Degree Those in School Pursuing
Career Aspirations
Figure 7: Career Aspirations by Generation
Living Arrangements
Figure 8: Living Arrangements by Generation
Marital Status
Figure 9: Marital Status by Generation
Income
Household Income
Figure 10: Household Income by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Income Dependent upon Parents
Figure 11: Source of Financial Support by Generation
Personal Income
Figure 12: Personal Income by Generation
Employment Status & Occupation
Employment
Figure 13: Employment Status by Generation
Occupation
Figure 14: Occupation by Generation
Working in your Career, as Stepping-Stone or Just to Get By
Figure 15: Employed in Career by Generation
Family of Origin
Family of Origin's Financial Status by Generation
Figure 16: Financial Status of Family of Origin by Generation
Family of Origin's Financial Status by Respondent's Household Income
Figure 17: Family of Origin's Financial Status and Respondent's Household Income
Marketers' Take Away>>
Expectations to Rise Above or Fall Behind Family of Origin's Financial Status
Figure 18: Expectations to Rise Above or Fall Behind Family of Origin's Financial Status by Generation
Figure 19: Expectations to Rise Above or Fall Behind Family's Financial Status by Financial Status
Parent's Level of Education
Figure 20: Parents Educational Attainment
Marketers' Take Away>>
Personal Aspirations
Aspiration for Marriage
Figure 21: Aspiration toward Marriage by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Aspiration for Children and Family
Figure 22: Aspiration to Have Children by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Primary Life Aspirations or Goals
Figure 23: Life Aspiration by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Secondary Life Aspirations or Goals
Marketers' Take Away>>
Tertiary Life Aspirations or Goals
Very Important Life Goals as compared with Most Important Ones
Figure 24: Life Goals Rated Most Important and Very Important but not Most Important
Life Goals Combined
Figure 25: Life Goals Rated Very Important by Gender and Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Aspiration for Luxury Goods
Luxury Goods Already Owned
Figure 26: Luxury Goods Already Owned by Generation
Most Aspired for Luxury Goods
Figure 27: Luxury Goods Aspired to by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Marketers' Take Away>>
What Achieving Those Luxury Goods Aspirations Will Mean
Figure 28: How Achieving their Luxury Goods Aspirations Will Make Them Feel by Generation
Sharing and Renting as Alternative to Owning
Figure 29: Sharing and Renting by Generations
Social Media
Social Media Overview
Figure 30: Social Media Overview
Activities on Social Media
Figure 31: Ways of Connecting with Brands on Social Media by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Online Security Concerns
Figure 32: Security Concerns of Personal Information by Generation
Finances & Money-Management Strategies
Personal Debt
Figure 33: Type of Personal Debt by Generation
Monthly Debt Payments
Figure 34: Average Monthly Debt Payment by Gender, Age & Generation
Figure 35: Average Monthly Debt Payments by Income Levels
Spending Challenges
Figure 36: Money Management Concerns by Generation
Money-Management Strategies
Figure 37: Money Management Strategies by Generation
Shopping & Spending
Spending that Gives Greatest Joy
Figure 38: Spending Categories that Deliver Much Enjoyment by Generation
Shopping is…
Figure 39: Shopping is
Online vs. In-Store: Which Is Preferred
Figure 40: How Shopping Online & In-Store Compare by Generation
Where They Shop
Figure 41: Stores Where Shopped by Generation
Luxury Is…
Luxury Is….
Figure 42: Luxury Is
Marketers' Take Away>>
Figure 43: Luxury Is
Luxury when Growing Up
Figure 44: Luxury as Part of Lifestyle Growing Up by Generation
Figure 45: Luxury as Part of Lifestyle Growing Up by Family of Origin Income Level
Marketers' Take Away>>
How Family Influenced their Ideas about Luxury
Figure 46: How Parent's Ideas of Luxury Influenced Them by Generation
Luxury Attitudes
Figure 47: Luxury Attitudes Agreement by Generation
Attitude: Time is the ultimate luxury
Figure 48: Time is the ultimate luxury Details by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Luxury doesn't mean that much to me
Figure 49: Luxury doesn't mean that much to me Details by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Luxury is a special indulgence that you enjoy occasionally; it can't be an everyday thing.
Figure 50: Luxury is a special indulgence …Details by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Luxury doesn't have to be the most expensive or exclusive brand
Figure 51: Luxury doesn't have to be the most expensive of exclusive brand Details by Generation
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Luxury is being able to pursue my passions and interests
Figure 52: Luxury is being able to pursue my passions and interests Details by Generation
Attitude: I've been lucky to enjoy luxuries in my life, but luxury is not part of my lifestyle
Figure 53: I've been lucky to enjoy luxuries
Attitude: Luxury is the finer things in life that surround you with supreme comfort, beauty and quality
Figure 54: Luxury is the finer things in life
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Luxury isn't how much something costs, but what it means to you
Figure 55: Luxury isn't how much something costs..Detail by Generation
Attitude: Luxury isn't something you own, but the experiences you have
Figure 56: Luxury isn't something you own
Attitude: Luxury is something that gives the highest level of performance -- works beyond expectations
Figure 57: Luxury is something that gives the highest level
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Owning luxury goods is a sign of high status
Figure 58: Owning luxury goods is sign of high status Details by Generation
Attitude: Luxury is being free to express my personality
Figure 59: Luxury is being free to express my personality
Attitude: While I like luxury experiences, they are fleeting so I prefer to buy luxury items I can keep and cherish
Figure 60: While I like luxury experiences
Attitude: Luxury is being able to buy things which reflect my personality
Figure 61: Luxury is being able to buy things
Attitude: I value luxury in the way my home is decorated and the overall environment in my home
Figure 62: I value luxury in the way my home is decorated..Details by Generation
Attitude: Having a luxury lifestyle is something that I aspire to
Figure 63: Having a luxury lifestyle is something I aspire to
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: Luxury is defined by the brand, so if it isn't a luxury brand, then it isn't true luxury
Figure 64: Luxury is defined by the brand
Attitude: Once you've experienced true luxury, you can't go back to the ordinary or everyday
Figure 65: Once you've experienced true luxury
Marketers' Take Away>>
Attitude: I will pay extra for a luxury brand that is consistent with the image I want to project
Figure 66: I will pay extra for a luxury brand
Attitude: Luxury is part of my personal style and how I present myself to others
Figure 67: Luxury is part of my personal style
Marketers' Take Away>>
VALS Types
VALS Types of Our Sample as compared with U.S. Adults
Figure 68: VALS Types US Adult Population & Our Sample
VALS Types of Millennials on Road to Affluence and GenXers
Figure 69: VALS Types of Millennials and GenXers
Marketers' Take Away>>
Meet Innovators —Luxury Marketers’ Existing Target Consumers, but Trouble May Be Looming
Marketers' Take Away>>
Meet Thinkers—Luxury Marketers ‘Sale’ Shoppers
Marketers' Take Away>>
Meet Experiencers—An Important Secondary Target for Luxury Marketers
Marketers' Take Away>>
Meet Strivers—Of Little Concern to Luxury Marketers: Forget about ‘em!
Marketers' Take Away>>

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