Affluent Millennials Skew More Female and Some Eschew College Education

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Our new study from FutureCast®, Money Matters: How Affluent Millennials are Living the Millennial Dream dispels the assumptions that surround affluent millennials, who are some of the most powerful, influential prosumers (a consumer co-creator who can influence others). These millennials (U.S. households with inhabitants aged 18-34 making an annual household income of $100,000 or more) influence not only the way the general market interacts with brands and consumer products, but are setting the trends among the millennial population overall.

“Many have studied millennials, but no one has studied the millennials with enough wealth to behave like the millennials that the media has portrayed to us,” said Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast® and co-author of Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever and Millennials with Kids (August 2015). “As the cohort of young adults with the means to act on the shopping attitudes and preferences of the general millennial population, affluent millennials have the largest amount of influence today.”

am segments

AFFUENT MILLENNIAL SEGMENTS SOURCE: Leah Swartz and Jeff Fromm, “Money Matters: How Affluent Millennials are Living the American Dream,” FutureCast® and Consumer Orbit Study 2015

The Money Matters study was conducted in May 2015 and paints a robust, data-driven picture of the 6.2 million affluent millennials living in the U.S.  This study is the first of its kind of segmentation, incorporating demographic/psychographic information, behavioral and attitudinal data, consumer technographic analysis and affluent millennials brand analysis.

Highlights of “Money Matters: How Affluent Millennials are Living the Millennial Dream”

Females Dominate Affluent Millennials. Today, 64 percent of affluent millennials are female, a shift from previous generations of influence. The gender wage gap has begun to decrease among millennials, one potential explanation for the majority of female affluent millennial population.

Education may look different for affluent millennials than previous generations of affluence. Surprisingly, the data showed that 44 percent of affluent millennials did not graduate from college and few have attended graduate school. This may indicate a deep sense of entrepreneurship among affluent millennials.

Affluent millennials are social activators. The data found that 59 percent of affluent millennials are likely to participate in online ratings and review sites compared to 47 percent for non-affluent millennials. More than one-third of affluent millennials regularly post on brand and product sites compared to 26 percent of non-affluent millennials.

They are trendsetters among the general millennial population. The aspirational trends such as buying organic that the majority of millennials are looking towards are realities for affluent millennials, as opposed to non-affluent millennials.

“Millennials Are Day Traders™ when they buy goods and services, but they trade more on quality and experiences than price,” said Fromm.

There are four distinct affluent millennial segments, each with differences in behaviors, attitudes and general demographics. “Family Forward,” who want to spend time at home with their family and most likely segment to indulge their children in “little extras.” “Active Influencers,” who are more likely to still be at their first job and are most likely to be the first among their friends to try a new trend. “Calculated Go-Getters,” who are established in their careers and families and are less likely to pay more for perks. “Big City Bachelors,” who are the only male-dominated affluent millennial segment and are more likely to buy a product they saw in a movie, TV show or video game.

Affluent millennials influence the luxury market. One-third of U.S. adults making more than $500,000 annually are now millennials so they have the capital to support new markets trends they are influencing. This group of young adults has a significant impact on the luxury, financial services and travel brands.

Affluent millennials are at a second-phase turning point in their lives where new buying patterns are being developed.Compared to non-affluent millennials, affluent millennials over-index when it comes to changing jobs, buying a home and making home improvements in the past 12 months. Specifically, the data found affluent millennials are not rejecting traditional means of home ownership and they over-index compared to non-affluent millennials when it comes to expecting a child in the next 12 months. Additionally, affluent millennials are savvy shoppers, however, their savyness is segment-dependent. For non-affluent millennials, purchase decision is highly dependent on cost while affluent millennials are much more invested in quality. And, according to the data, affluent millennials are more likely to pick a different destination every time they travel instead of returning to the same place twice.

“When brands understand how these affluent prosumers work and how they can work with them and take action, these brands will succeed,” said Fromm. “There are brands that are winning, and we’ve included an analysis of these travel, financial, auto, grocery and retail brands in the report.”

About the “Money Matters” Study:

The Money Matters study was conducted in May 2015. The study analyzed U.S. households with inhabitants aged 18-34 making an annual household income of $100,000 or more. We leveraged Consumer Orbit’s Total View® database to tap into over 110 million U.S. households and more than 230 million individual consumers to develop four segments of affluent millennials. Overall, this research process painted a robust, data-driven picture of the 6.23 million affluent millennials living in the United States today. We then used insights from Forrester and YouGov BrandIndex to enhance our findings across a range of emerging technologies, behaviors, digital, mobile and social interactions combined with in depth analysis of favored brands among the affluent millennial population. 

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.