With so much focus on Millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z, we thought Gen Xers might be starting to feel left out. Here at BCG we recently came across the infographic below and our Generation X employees were thrilled with the findings.
What do you think about these findings? Is it indicative of your colleagues and workplace dynamics? With an office that spans the generations, we here at BCG have mixed reviews of this infographic.
A few days after we all discussed the positive and negative characteristics of individuals in each of our generations, the article below from eMarketer was released. We thought this was a sign that we should take a minute to talk about Generation X.
The article below, titled Where US Gen X Stands: A Hard-Luck Cohort that Is Too Important to Neglect, was published by eMarketer on February 27, 2017, and written by Mark Dolliver. Contributors: Christopher Bendtsen, Marcus Johnson, Maria Minsker, Oscar Orozco, Jennifer Pearson.
Where US Gen X Stands: A Hard-Luck Cohort that Is Too Important to Neglect
Forget the notion that Gen X is a small market: It isn’t. The real problem for marketers is that Xers—though now earning and spending more per household than other generations—are financially stressed. The good news? Their digital usage, along with their TV viewing, makes them eminently reachable.
- Gen Xers are less numerous than millennials or boomers. But at some 66 million, they are hardly a small cohort.
- Xers have higher per-household income and expenditures than millennials or boomers. But thanks partly to a pair of recessions, their income growth has been subpar. Homeownership has often been more a trap than a boon. With too little wealth and too much debt, they are in the vanguard of downward mobility.
- The good news for marketers is that Xers are highly digital, with most using the internet and social media, and most owning smartphones. They’re less experimental in their usage than younger people, which makes them easier for digital marketers to find—on Facebook, for instance. They are also reachable via TV.
- Digital shopping is popular among Xers, with about three-quarters buying online. Prepurchase attention to online reviews is important to Xers, as they seek to get the most from tight budgets. Digital coupons are key for this cost-conscious cohort.
- Attitudes toward advertising are mixed at best, and a sizable minority of Xers use ad blockers.
A Generational Mixed Bag
Discussion of Gen X routinely harps on the fact that Xers are outnumbered by baby boomers and millennials. But at some 66 million people, this is not a small market. In fact, its size is the least of the challenges facing marketers who realize they cannot afford to leave Xers’ money on the table.
When people talk about downward mobility, Xers—born between 1965 and 1980, by eMarketer’s definition—are prime examples. Though they now have higher incomes than older or younger age groups, they have little wealth and ample debt.
Homeownership, which helped build wealth for prior generations, has been a fiasco for many Xers thus far. And at the older end of Gen X, retirement looms as more a threat than a goal. As the Great Recession fades into history, the hope for many Xers has to be that the worst is behind them.
Marketers had better hope so, too, because Xers are a group from which they must make money, as boomers have begun fading away and millennials are taking their time in becoming serious consumers with homes and families for whom to buy.
Xers are at a life stage where they cannot avoid spending—to raise their kids and equip their homes, for example—but their financial struggles mean they do not part with their money lightly.
One bit of good news for marketers is that Xers remain quite reachable—more attached than millennials to TV, and more engaged than boomers with digital media. Moreover, their digital usage is less in flux than that of younger people, making them an easier audience for marketers to find.
It is a mixed bag for marketers. But maybe that’s appropriate, as they try to profit from a generation for which life thus far has been decidedly mixed.
The full article was accessed via Barcelona Creative Group’s eMarketer PRO subscription. eMarketer PRO provides data and insights marketers need to develop winning strategies and stay ahead.