Whether you’re a yuppie looking for a city to call home or someone trying to get as far away from yuppies as possible, our Yuppie Price Index (YPI) for services will help you identify the top cities that are the most and least hospitable to yuppies.
What is a Yuppie?
While most people nowadays know that “yuppie” stands for “young urban professional,” the actual meaning of the term can be somewhat contentious. To set the record straight – when we say yuppie, we’re referring to an urban professional in their 20s and 30s who is in a high paying field like finance, consulting, or law. These yuppies have higher than average disposable income and spend it in ways that could be viewed as frivolous by others. This includes paying up for conveniences, indulging in self-pampering, and a greater focus on self-maintenance and looking good.
The Yuppie Basket of Services
We surveyed some yuppies and came up with a basket of yuppie services for men and women. The types of services that popped included:
- Household Chores: Yuppies are known to outsource laundry, whether it’s wash & fold for everyday items or dry cleaning for silk blouses and to get those shirts and pants extra crisp.
- Self-Pampering: Yuppies like to pamper themselves after working hard for the money. This includes getting regular massages to release tension and facials to keep skin looking fresh.
- Self-Maintenance: Yuppies also like to look good and stay fit. They stay polished with expensive haircuts, blowouts, and manicures and stay fit at the gym and through Yoga.
- Pet Care: We also notice that many yuppies have dogs. And when the yuppy travels, pet boarding is a must.
The Yuppie Price Index (YPI) for Services
We then looked at some of the top designated market areas (DMAs) in the U.S. You can think of these as basically cities. For each of these DMAs, we leveraged the data we have here at Locality and calculated the average price for the services we identified. Then, in a moment of insight, we put our yuppie hats on and realized: Hold on, would a yuppie really be going to an average place? We decided that wasn’t likely. So we went above the average price (the 75th percentile price to be exact). We applied this to our basket of services and calculated the annual spend per DMA and across the U.S. This gave us our YPI.
Wait …Where’s New York City?
We’re not going to rehash the insights and takeaways from the infographic here. That said, we did want to give some airtime to one of the most surprising takeaways – New York City being #13 on the list. We know what you’re thinking: “But NYC is SO EXPENSIVE!” It is, for most things. But surprisingly, for a number of services – like manicures and dry cleaning – NYC is quite affordable. This was highlighted in a NYT article from last year. In that article, Jessie Handbury, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, pointed out:
Highly educated, high-income New Yorkers are surrounded by equally well-educated and well-paid people with similar tastes. More vendors compete for their business, which effectively lowers prices and provides variety. There’s also a high fixed cost to distributing a niche product to an area; if there’s more demand for that product, then the fixed cost can be spread across more customers, which will justify bringing the product to the market in the first place
Commenters on the article also pointed out that prices for certain services are driven down by access to a lower cost labor pool - immigrants. We’re not economists, but this sounded pretty reasonable to us.
I think NYC’s lower prices for mani/pedis reflect a higher supply of offerings that are staffed by an immigrant population that is relatively higher in NYC than in other cities. You might consider looking at dry cleaning services and find similarly lower prices in NYC. – Barbara
I think one thing the author didn’t mention is that so many immigrants in NYC made these services much cheaper, which also increases competition. Especially for pedicures and manicures, they don’t need much skills and immigrants can learn these skills quickly if they want and open a small store to offer the services. But wealthy people living in the city do get these benefits. – Cheng Q.
In summary, more yuppies means that demand for yuppie services is high, resulting in lower prices and greater availability. Additionally, cities with access to a sizable immigrant population, or just a lower cost labor pool, may also benefit from lower prices on services. With these insights in mind, it becomes more readily apparent why NYC isn’t in the top 10 while cities like San Francisco and Denver are.
That’s it from us! We hope you found our little data exercise interesting. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you! Also, to find prices, hours, reviews for local services near you be sure to check out Locality.com (we have more than just yuppie services).