Friday, November 30, 2012

What are upper-middle class people like?

Will Barratt, Ph.D.

Work: Management, Executive, business owner, professional

Education: College, graduate, or professional degree

Home:  Mostly homeowners

Money and money management: Have after-tax money and retirement money to manage, real estate investments, stocks, municipal bonds, T-notes, annuities, 529s, mutual funds, a home equity line of credit, a 401k, an IRA and other types of investments.  Older UMCs will have a personal or phone relationship with a broker, financial, or wealth manager. Younger UMCs trade on line, by phone, in person, and have a personal broker, financial, or wealth manager, and an online trading account.

Shop:,,,, Saks Fifth Ave, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Lands’ End, L. L. Bean, Lord and Taylor, J. Crew, Thomasville, Neiman Marcus, Talbots, Crate and Barrel

Read: The Economist, Details, Harper’s Bazar, The New Yorker, Barron’s, Wall Street Journal, Traditional Home, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator, Condé Nast Traveler, Architectural Digest, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Coastal Living, Yachting, Skiing, American Hunter

Watch:  IFC, international videos, soccer, BBC America, PBS, The View, Masterpiece Theater, 60 Minutes, Saturday Night Live, Golf Channel, video on demand, pay-per-view, Ebert and Roeper, Washington Week, Bloomberg Television

Drive: Audi, VW, Lexus, Mercedes, Land Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser, Jaguar

Insurance: Have health insurance, retirement insurance, and travel insurance.

Vacation and travel: Europe, (Spain, Portugal, France), cruises, and frequent domestic travel for fun and business

Memberships: Country Club, Civic Club

Sports: Watch Horse racing, tennis, and golf, play tennis, go skiing, water skiing, and snorkeling


Market segmenting makes assumptions about consumption and creates clusters of people based on their consumer characteristics, age, and on where they live.  The Nielsen Company has identified 66 PRIZM market segments, 58 P$YCLE segments, and 53 ConneXions segments, and described people in them by demographics and lifestyle and media traits.

I have aggregated information from the 14 PRIZM market segments classified as Wealthy and Upscale to describe the upper-middle social class.  This collection of 14 market segments reflects a median family income range from slightly above $100,000 a year down to $50,000.  The six wealthy market segments represent millions of US households so I  included them in the upper-middle class based on the assumption that the elite upper class are few in number.


These are not stereotypes, these are consumer behaviors based on research on what people report about themselves.  These data are widely used by marketers in the US.  The underlying assumption here is that social class is reflected in consumer behaviors.  By looking closely it is clear that this group has money to invest and has accumulated retirement money.  This consumer assumption about social class does not reflect social class as culture or social class as identity.


What are upper-middle-middle class people like?

What are middle-middle class people like?

What are lower-middle-middle class people like?

What are poor and lower class people like?

No comments: