Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Marketing to Middle Americans - US - January 2018

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.

This report examines the following issues:

  • Middle American Dreams are within reach…
  • … but are more accessible for those in upper status group
  • Middle Americans may be financially fragile
  • Mainstream America has all but disappeared

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. 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

                                                                                                        Marketing to Middle Americans - US - January 2018

                                                                                                        US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)