31 October 2016

IKEA/Economist Group (EIU) study focuses on the new ‘American Dream’ today

Be the first to share

Press release – September 21, 2016

Discovering the New American Dream, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by IKEA US shows that the American Dream, which was once outlined by owning a home with a ‘white picket fence,’ having a comfortable amount of money, and ‘keeping up with the Joneses,’ is now transitioning into ‘living life on one’s own terms.’ The new dream is defined by quality of life experiences; 57% of Americans say the dream is more about quality of life, as opposed to 20% citing material possessions. More than half (57%) cited spending time with family and friends as the way they are currently living the American Dream.

The EIU report also shows that Americans continue to believe in the value of hard work to achieve success, but the measurement of this success is now based on one’s personal goals, not necessarily those set by society.

  • 65% believe ‘the American Dream’ is more personal today, less about society’s goals
  • 76% believe the expression of the American Dream is as diverse as the people in America
  • 72% of Americans believe they are in some way living the American dream today, while 76% think the dream is a journey and not an end goal

Alex, a 28-year-old woman who lives on a farm co-op in Madison, Wisconsin, embodies this new view of living on one’s own. “Having the freedom to do what I want, take on projects that I want, and to make a difference is really important to me. I can’t be happy in a job that doesn’t allow me to do these things—regardless of the pay check. I live in a co-op because I need that human connection and sense of collaboration,” Alex said. “My favorite parts of any day are spontaneous adventures with the people I love.”

It’s not just what defines the American Dream that is marking this transformation, but rather what people are striving for overall. With regard to the pervasive challenges to success, the EIU study cites:

  • The recession of 2008 changed people’s expectations of the ‘American Dream’ according to seven in ten Americans. This is felt more strongly in the middle income bracket ($50,000–$75,000), where 74% believe this, compared with 63% of those in the lowest income bracket and 70% of those in the highest.
  • The majority of Americans also agree that “the cost of living today makes it harder to see how one can achieve the American Dream” (78%) and that “college is no longer a guarantee to living the American Dream” (72%).
  • Some Americans have fears about “being able to retire comfortably” with fewer than half (42%) believing it’s possible. Those in the lowest income bracket see it as even less achievable (32%).

“It’s confirming to know that the new American Dream is about ‘living life on your own terms,’ because we have always embraced this mindset. We believe all homes are created equal, and we are committed to the many people by producing well-designed, quality, functional and affordable home furnishings that accommodate their diverse lifestyles and wallets. Everyone deserves a home that they love, that is sustainable, looks good and works well – and where they can live happily with family and friends. We understand cost of living hikes and that college tuition is sky high, but no matter what the dream, we want to help our customers achieve it,” stated Lars Petersson, IKEA US president.

“The American Dream can seem very diverse, and today the dream and definitions of success takes many forms, but at the core there is a similarity: to be happy. The means of acquiring the American Dream is the biggest change. For example, more than 70% no longer see college as a guarantee to the American Dream, so we see people are developing new workarounds and goals,” commented Rebecca Lipman, editor of the Discovering the New American Dream EIU report.

On the upside, 77% believe technology has opened new doors for people to achieve their American Dream. A little over half (53%) believe the sharing economy will open up more opportunities for Americans to reach financial prosperity.

These foundational elements of the America Dream today are shared to varying degrees across income levels, generations, political affiliations, and genders. Looking ahead, a majority (62%) of Americans believe being treated equally regardless of one’s background and the freedom to live as they choose will define the American dream for future generations. As time has passed, generations have shaped the American Dream based on the current state of the country, but at its core, it has remained steadfast in the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ What defines happiness is what has truly changed.

This report captures the perspectives of Americans of all different backgrounds to explain what the age-old term, American Dream, means to today’s society and how it will continue to evolve. It is based on a survey of 2,050 individuals from all regions of the country of varying ages, ethnicities and incomes, providing a balanced representation of the U.S. as a whole.

> A New York Times article published on October 30 describes how IKEA US implemented these insights in offerings, positioning and advertising.

Be the first to share
27 November 2018
Nielsen Norman Group on the user experience of chatbots
Far from being ‘intelligent’, today’s chatbots guide users through simple linear flows, and our user research shows that they have a hard time whenever users deviate from such flows, writes Raluca Budiu of the Nielsen …
20 November 2018
Journal of Business Anthropology devoted to design anthropology
The Journal of Business Anthropology is an Open Access journal which publishes the results of anthropological research in business organizations and business situations of all kinds. The theme of the latest issue - Vol 7, …
20 November 2018
[Book] Who can you trust?
Who can you trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart by Rachel Botsman Public Affairs November 2017, 336 pages If you can’t trust those in charge, who can you trust? From government to business, …
19 November 2018
What are Europe’s rules for democratic artificial intelligence?
Vincenzo Tiani has written an excellent summary in Wired Italia of the recently published "Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations", by AI4People, a task force of European experts. With the …
18 November 2018
Consumer behaviour and the circular economy
Report: Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy London Economics for the European Commission – Consumers Health and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) 23 October 2018, 202 pages The objective of this study was to provide policy-relevant …
17 November 2018
[Book] Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting The Rules Of Work
Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting The Rules Of Work by Alex Rosenblat University of California Press October 2018, 296 pages Silicon Valley technology is transforming the way we work, and Uber is leading the charge. An American startup that …
17 November 2018
HSBC study on trust in technology
HSBC bank commissioned Populus and Ipsos MORI to conduct an independent study of more than 12,000 people in 11 countries into global technology perceptions and habits. Our Trust in Technology research (pdf report) explores public opinion …
10 November 2018
Design education’s big gap: understanding the role of power
George Aye, co-founder and director of innovation at Greater Good Studio and adjunct full professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, argues that for all the talk about being human-centered, one very …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

4 October 2018
Bringing​ ​patients into focus at the Roche Innovation Summit

Experientia is proud to have been a key participant at the Roche Innovation Summit, held at Roche headquarters in Basel Switzerland on 19 June 2018. Themed “​Transforming the Healthcare Experience Together​”, the summit aimed to galvanize the Roche community around the future transformation of healthcare and diagnostics. With 800 attendees from Roche and Genentech global […]

13 June 2018
Invito: DesAlps design thinking workshop per la tua startup

Hai una startup? Hai mai pensato ai benefici che potrebbe trarre dal Design Thinking? Questa è l’opportunità per scoprirlo! DesAlps Workshop #2: Il Design Thinking per la tua startup! Giovedì 28 giugno 2018 – dalle 9:30 alle 17:00 @ I3P | Corso Castelfidardo 30/a, Torino —– Nell’ambito del progetto europeo DesAlps, un team di esperti […]

3 May 2018
Invito: DesAlps innovation workshop per le PMI del territorio piemontese

Experientia è lieta di invitare le piccole e medie imprese del territorio piemontese al: DesAlps Workshop #1: Il Design Thinking per le PMI Venerdì 18 maggio 2018 – dalle 9.00 alle 17.30 @ Rinascimenti Sociali | via Maria Vittoria 38, Torino Scopri i vantaggi che il Design Thinking può portare al tuo business per prepararvi […]

27 April 2018
Impact through Design – Event in Turin, Italy

(Scroll down for English) Come può il design generare impatto? In continuità con il summit International Days of Deans and Experts: Impact Through Design (Barcellona, aprile 2018) Torino ospita il primo evento dedicato alla prospettiva italiana sull’impatto generato attraverso il design in riferimento ai Sustainable Development Goals definiti dalle Nazioni Unite. Attori dell’ecosistema territoriale ed […]

26 February 2018
Designing Patient Solutions with Meaning: Review of technology and health apps for a better patient experience

Technology is radically changing the world of healthcare and acts at different levels in support of different stakeholders. There are several digital tools on the market (e.g. wearables, virtual reality, robotics, etc.), many of which work in integration with each other, for example, wearables connected to IOT applications. Experientia’s report provide an overview of some […]

22 December 2017
Happy new year 2018!
See all articles