O50: Full Steam Ahead

Younger and middle-aged singles gravitating to second-tier cities

Type of Singles and Starters consisting of 0.60% of households and 0.34% of population

Who We Are

  • Aged 36-45
  • Household income $35,000-$49,999
  • 1 person household
  • Renter
  • High level of household technology

Key Features

  • Spontaneous buyers
  • Music enthusiasts
  • Single adults
  • Savvy researchers
  • Compact cars
  • Skyscraper apartments


After they finished college, America’s singles used to gravitate to funky apartments in dicey neighborhoods of major metropolises. Today, Full Steam Ahead have taken a detour to second-tier cities and their suburbs in the West and South where they find cheaper housing, less crime and fewer of the hassles associated with dense, urban living. These singles are relatively young, unattached and well-educated. Predominantly transient, they’ve settled in high-rise and garden-style apartments near jobs, bars, health clubs and music stores. Many work in blue-collar and entry-level positions in various industries where they earn modest incomes but gain plenty of experience at the start of their careers. Without mortgages or children to raise, they have the freedom to spend their first paychecks on nightlife, new technology and faster online services—so they can find even better jobs and apartments. Nine out of ten of these mobile singles have lived at the same address for fewer than five years.

With over three quarters of this segment unmarried, Full Steam Ahead pursue young and active lifestyles. A disproportionate number spend their leisure time engaged in jogging, swimming, lifting weights and martial arts as well as team sports like baseball and football. These educated Americans like nightlife and go to plays and movies. They also have a creative streak, with many painting and taking their photography seriously. Self-described early adopters, they like to try new foods, experiment with new clothing styles and pick up the latest consumer electronics—no matter the cost.

For many members of Full Steam Ahead, shopping is done primarily online, and they’ll often go online to plan a shopping excursion with a friend, ever in search of the latest trends and newest products. They’ll browse a lot to make sure they get good value, but they’re not so price-conscious that they won’t splurge on the perfect pair of boots or sunglasses. These shoppers can usually be found in upscale mall retailers and hip boutiques. Although they have their favorite stores and labels, they’re always up to try a hot new store.

Full Steam Ahead, online 24/7 through mobile devices, are too progressive for most traditional media—printed newspapers and magazines are relics from the last century. They only sit still for a video game or to surf the web. These party creatures like a wide range of music on their favorite internet radio apps—they listen to everything from classical to hip-hop. Full Steam Ahead are millennials who were raised on the internet, and it’s their chief source of entertainment.

Full Steam Ahead hold decidedly progressive attitudes about society, though less than half have taken the time to voice that opinion at the voting booth. Few would dispute that they’re lefties—pro-environment, pro-Democratic Party and supportive of progressive social issues. Again, some are too preoccupied—or just not into it—to actually register to vote. However, those who are engaged are active in their communities. They volunteer for causes. They worry about the future and they want to make their lives better.

Reach this market digitally—whether online video ads, radio or mobile display. Use messages that exemplify the variety of novelty options you have for this eclectic market and resonate with their desire to move upward in status both at work and socially. They are price-conscious given their entry-level incomes so price competitively and offer savings earning deals.