What Is Generation X?
Generation X is the demographic cohort that succeeds Baby Boomers and constitutes people born between the mid-1960s to late-1970s.
The number of Gen-Xers is lesser than Baby Boomers and Millenials, with both groups sabotaging their market presence; hence they are also called the ‘Forgotten Generation.’
However, a report by Business Insider suggests that an average Gen-Xer in the US earns higher and spends higher than its younger counterparts, therefore contributing to a considerable chunk of purchasing power in the market.
Who Belong To Gen X & Why Does It Matter?
According to Beresford Research, Gen-Xers are people born between 1965 and 1980. They follow the Baby Boomers and are typically the offspring of the older boomers or the silent generation. They succeed the baby boomers, hence known as ‘Baby Busters’ and ‘Post-Boomers.’
Although the generation constitutes only 19% population in the US and is overlooked by marketers, it is important to note that Gen X contributes to 30% of total income in the US, thereby holding significant decision-making powers.
Moreover, this generation has grown up in the era of wars, technological innovations, political and social revolutions and has witnessed extreme lifestyle changes, making the people belonging to this group highly adaptable and flexible to changes.
Therefore, with its financial independence, liberal lifestyle choices, and decision-making powers, Gen X establishes a strong presence in the market.
Characteristics of Generation X
Generation Before Gen X
Generation X Years
1965 - 1980
Generation after Gen X
Millennials or Generation Y
People belonging to Gen X are aged between 41 and 56 years and have advanced to top positions in their careers. Therefore, they are earning maximum compared to other generations because they form the top tier of the active workforce. Their influential decision-making comes to play not only in workplaces but also in households. In a typical household, the purchasing power lies with a GenXer until other generations stake over it.
Gen-Xers are often referred to as the ‘Latchkey kids’ because they grew up in an environment of minimum parental supervision and took up responsibilities from a very young age due to working parents or a single parent. Therefore they are more creative and efficient working and managing things alone. They rely on their skills and take responsibility for their actions. It can be concluded that Gen-Xers value their freedom and autonomy.
Gen-Xers are typically family people. At present, this generation is earning and saving to educate their children or care for their elderly parents. Every short-term and long-term decision they make revolves around the security of their family. Therefore, anything that gives worth to their families directly benefits them.
People belonging to Gen X tend to be more conservative as far as shopping is concerned. They are not carried away by flashy advertisements and pompous promotions. They are only enticed by a genuine product its performance-proof. A prominent example for the same is that we often find Gen-Xers purchasing clothes from a brick and mortar store as they want to touch and feel the product before they make a purchase.
No other generation is as accommodating and adaptable as Generation X. They have been a part of pathbreaking social revolutions, economic crises, technological processes, and political reformations and have moulded their lives with changing times. They are considered first among other generations to have accepted different ethnicities and embraced a diverse culture.
While slower adopters as compared to millennials and Gen Z, Gen X embrace digital life as much as the later generations.
Gen-Xers were born and brought up in the era of changing technologies and the internet revolution. Moreover, Gen-Xers were the first to use personal computers and cell phones. Internet revolution also led to a boom in information technology jobs filled up the Gen-Xers.
Favour Work-Life Balance
Gen-Xers constantly strive to create a balance between their work life and personal life. They work hard but also like to take time off to socialise, go on vacations with their families and do whatever pleases them. Unlike their predecessors, the Boomers who worked harder, Gen-Xers prefer to work smarter with a healthy work-life balance.
Gen-Xers are deeply committed to good experiences. Once a brand makes them feel connected and gives them the best experience, they will stick to it. Unlike Gen Y and Gen Z, they lack the will to explore and try new things; therefore, they are the most loyal people of all generations and stand by good experiences.
Active On Social Media
Gen X has also readily adopted social media and actively participates in the virtual world. Moreover, they explore social media networks in their day-to-day lives, and around 74% of Gen-Xers consider it essential. A report by Statista indicates that among other platforms, Gen X typically forms the Youtube and Facebook regime.
Marketing To The Generation X
With an overall population of only 19%, Generation X has a considerable purchasing power of $2.4 Billion. Moreover, according to the US Department of Labor, Gen X surpasses other generations in spending when it concerns housing, dining out, entertainment, and clothing. Therefore, the generation is small yet powerful, making it necessary for entrepreneurs, marketers, product and service developers, and strategists to understand their demands. Here are a few tips to help you build products and market them to Gen-Xers.
Creating A Product For Generation X
Generation X is a unique generation. They have been exposed to new things and were quick to adapt and embrace the changes. They are the most influential generation in the worldwide population today, and their buying power can make or break a product’s success story. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to know how to create a product that appeals to them before they invest time and money in it.
They look for authenticity
Any advertising expenditure cannot grasp a Gen-Xer until the product is genuine.
They are nostalgic
Gen-Xers often feel young for their age, and when a brand approaches them by hitting their memories, they value it and prefer to choose that product.
They crave good experiences
Once they feel valued, they will become loyalists and unpaid ambassadors for the concerned brand.
Marketing The Product To The Generation X
Target Them On Smartphones
Gen-Xers are tech-savvy people and have readily adopted technological changes from PCs to laptops and cell phones to smartphones. Moreover, an average Gen-Xer spends more time per day on devices than millennials do - 3 hours on smartphones, 1.3 hours on PCs, and 35 minutes on tablets.
Gen-Xers value their leisure time and spend optimum time on the internet researching about businesses and entertainment. Around 95% of the Gen-Xers actively use Facebook and account for 1.5 Billion daily views on Youtube, accessible through mobile phones.
Therefore, businesses should try to make their brands more accessible and reachable by optimising their website for phones, targeting ads in different formats on Youtube and Facebook.
An average Gen-Xer spends more time per day on devices than millennials do - 3 hours on smartphones, 1.3 hours on PCs, and 35 minutes on tablets.
Use Traditional Means
Gen-Xers value the worth of the product or service in the offer. And the best way to communicate the worth to Generation X is through traditional means.
A vast majority of Generation X watches TV, listens to the radio, and reads newspapers. And not to forget they are the only generation that checks their emails daily. In a way, they consider these means of communication highly reliable.
Therefore, brands should try to connect with Gen-Xers by becoming a part of their lives through the use of traditional media. Creating an authentic message and communicating it through to the conventional sources goes a long way in capturing Gen X.
Creating an authentic message and communicating it through to the conventional sources goes a long way in capturing Gen X.
The best way to entice the conservative Gen X is through transparency.
Pomp and show on flashy advertisements, celebrity contracts, or influencer marketing have no impact on them. They are fond of genuine products and look for value.
Therefore, brands can simply be transparent and keep their promises to lure them. Some ways to attract them are written reviews and customer experiences, demonstration videos, surveys, proof of product performance, guarantees, and warranties.
Moreover, the Gen-Xers are inclined to research before making purchases; therefore, product details should be mentioned explicitly, information about customer care and address of the business, etc., should also be stated to build their trust.
This information is essential because, at any stage of lack or misinformation, GenX buyers tend to shun away from their purchase journey instantly.
Pomp and show on flashy advertisements, celebrity contracts, or influencer marketing have no impact on Gen X.
Offer Deals And Loyalty Rewards
Gen-Xers hunt for deals and love being a part of loyalty programs. According to the CrowdTwist Consumer Loyalty study, around 82% of GenX consumers participate in at least one loyalty program, with 77% claiming their rewards every quarter.
Gen-Xers are in their prime spending years and stick with those brands which reward their spending and loyalty.
Therefore, businesses can curate loyalty programs suiting different demographics and can offer personalised discounts and offers in the form of redemptions, festive vouchers, anniversary gifts, membership points, personalised offers based on previous purchases, etc. These schemes ensure constant commitment and preference by Gen X buyers.
According to a Youtube survey by Google, nostalgia is a common theme that Gen-Xers look for while surfing videos. Nostalgia reminds them of the times when they were younger and carefree.
Therefore businesses can add an element of nostalgia to their ads precisely to capture the GenX. It may be some recreation of some childhood cartoon or superhero they fancied, using some iconic songs of the past to rekindle their spirits, or even a parody remake of their past movies or serials.
These marketing efforts to incorporate their past make them feel valued as an audience. They have often been dubbed ‘the middle child’ or ‘the forgotten generation’ because marketers usually focus on Baby Boomers and Millennials.
Businesses can add an element of nostalgia to their ads precisely to capture the GenX
Have A Great Customer Service
Gen-Xers always look for worthwhile experiences when they spend. These experiences sometimes weigh more significant than the utility of the product itself.
An open atmosphere, transparent purchase process, friendly staff and guidance, attentive customer care service, swift redressal mechanism, efficient after-sales services, feedback, reviews, etc., are some ways to add value to their lives.
Therefore, businesses should strive to create a user-friendly and interactive environment for Generation X to reach them better and gain their loyalty.
Businesses should strive to create a user-friendly and interactive environment for Generation X to reach them better and gain their loyalty.