If your product or service caters to well-heeled customers, you might soon discover a new segment: the Middle Aged Simplifier. According to John Quelch of Harvard Business Online, they spent the boom years accumulating status symbols. “As [those at the top] grew richer,” Quelch reports, “pressure increased on those below to trade up. And, as they traded up, pressure increased in turn on the well-off to buy even more—the second home, the big screen TV and the latest sport-utility vehicle.”

Despite the fact that families got smaller and professionals spent less time at home, the square footage of their houses continued to grow. “In 2006,” notes Quelch, “35% of new homes exceeded 2,400 square feet in floor space compared with 18% in 1986.” They merrily stocked their houses with upgraded appliances, furniture and other high-end household goods.

These consumers are now dealing with an over-consumption hangover, and Quelch says their mantra now sounds a bit like this:

I have more than I need.
I’m embarrassed by my gas-guzzling Range Rover.
I no longer feel the need to impress others with possessions.
I want meaningful experiences, not more stuff.

“Tomorrow’s consumer will buy more ephemeral, less cluttering stuff: fleeting, but expensive, experiences, not heavy goods for the home,” says Quelch.

The Po!nt: Keep the Middle Aged Simplifier in mind as you fine-tune messaging and product development for your upscale offerings.

Source: Harvard Business Online.