Any yuppies left out there? There were quite a few a couple of years ago, but with the "Y word" falling out of favor, no one wants to answer to that sobriquet anymore. It's probably for the best, but then what do we call them now?
Would you believe . . . "The Premium Class?" That's what New York advertising firm Doyle Graf calls people who earn six-figure incomes.Whatever label or acronym they are known by, there still remain a lot of people who qualify demographically as young urban professionals, and the advertising folks still love them and target them.
After all, large salaries mean lots of what marketers call "discretionary income" - meaning they have something left over after buying groceries and making the house payment for the kind of gadgets sold in The Sharper Image catalog.
According to a survey Doyle Graf commissioned the Roper Organization to conduct last month, what's in for The Premium Class these days are goodies for the house. The survey found that households earning incomes of $100,000 or more a year believe microwave ovens, answering machines, home computers and VCRs rank among the most important lifestyle necessities.
Fifty-seven percent said they can't do without a microwave, 49 percent an answering machine, 42 percent a home computer and 36 percent a VCR.
The fact that lots of people who earn considerably less than 100 big ones a year also have those things in their homes is an interesting point. Apparently it is becoming harder for the affluent to differentiate themselves from those of us earning more modest sums . . . newspaper writers, for example.
The study asked the well-to-do to distinguish between luxuries - things they may enjoy owning but could live without - and necessities - things or services that have become so important they are thought to be necessities.
"On a practical level, we're seeing that the home-electronics revolution has become deeply embedded in affluent lifestyles," noted William S. Doyle, president of the Doyle Graf Raj agency.
"With more and more dual-income households and people often having less time to do things, what just a few years ago were clearly novelties or luxuries have today become necessities of speed and convenience," Doyle said.
Next on the list of necessities for the affluent is quality education for their children, with 30 percent believing it's a must to send their kids to an elite college and 25 percent to a private school.
Traditional trappings of high-income households are necessities to fewer than would be imagined, the study indicates. Only 8 percent agree that country-club memberships or swimming pools are necessities, and just 6 percent view furs as necessities.
The study was part of a continuing program by Doyle Graf Raj and The Roper Organization to "monitor the lifestyles, attitudes and buying habits of the affluent and how they relate to the national consumer marketplace."