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How Will Inflation Affect HENRYs?

HENRYs — high earners, not yet rich — is a marketing term coined in 2003 to describe families earning between $250,000 and $500,000, but not having much left after taxes, schooling, housing, and other costs.

Since then, it’s been used in marketing to target a younger generation of wealthy people — most of which are Millennials. And if you look around, there are a lot more HENRYs now than there have been since the Baby Boomer generation was in its prime.

In fact, Millennials recently surpassed Baby Boomers as the biggest generation—with 72.1 million in the U.S.—which means they will be a major part of the population for many years to come.

But with inflation at a whopping 8.58%, what will happen to HENRYs?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. HENRYs Will Never Be Rich. The worst scenario in their case would be that inflation lasts so long or hits the economy so hard that it requires them to spend the majority of their money on food and housing — which means less money for home products like furniture and decor.

    In the long run, that could mean less interest in home furnishings in general, or a turn to refurbished or rental furniture that’s sometimes less expensive or easier to pay off over a longer period of time.
  2. Meanings Change. As stated above, HENRYs are described as earning between $250,000 and $500,000 a year. However, $250,000 will get you much more in Indiana than in California. That essentially changes the meaning of HENRYs to refer to people who make a certain amount of money, but that aren’t necessarily high earners compared to the cost of living in their city. What money does that leave left for home goods?
  3. Furniture Sales Questioned. Whether HENRYs make the big bucks or not, furniture is a high-dollar purchase that even wealthier people cheap out on. But there is an interesting opportunity here to hook HENRYs while they’re still working their way to the top. Engrain the idea of having a nice home and comfortable furniture in them now, and when they do become rich, they will realize the value of quality furniture. 

HENRYs may sound like another useless marketing acronym, but like most things, there’s an opportunity here for those who are interested in pursuing it.

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