Generation X: the forgotten generation

Marketeers frequently overlook Generation X as a target group. While focussing all their attention on baby boomers, millennials or the even younger Generation Z, brands often forget about the demographic group born between 1960 and 1980. Odd, because Gen X makes a very interesting target audience.

With Generation X researchers typically mean those born between 1961 and 1980, although the group is sometimes seen as broader (born from 1956). It is the demographic cohort following the baby boomers and preceding the millennials. That is why this generation is compared to “the forgotten middle child”. Almost a quarter of this generation feels that brands pay too little attention to them.

Why you should target Generation X

Gen X can make a huge target group with great potential. Generation X represents about a quarter of the total population in most western countries. More important, Generation Xers have money to spend. Together they earn 31 percent of the total income in the United States. The average Gen Xer in the US earns $ 50,400 annually, while the average millennial earns just $ 34,430 a year.

Besides the higher income, Gen Xers are often further in their careers and hold key positions in society. At work they are generally the ones who hold the management positions. Marketing wise, this makes Generation X even more interesting; Generation X influences both baby boomers (who like to feel young) and millennials.

Traditional and digital media

That marketeers are less inclined to focus on Generation X is probably because it is a target group that is hard to define. The typical Gen Xer is a real chameleon. It is a generation that for example grew up without internet, but that has quickly embraced the digital world. Generation X is very active on social media, but spends many hours in front of the television and still reads the printed newspaper. This makes Generation X the only generation that uses both traditional and digital media. As a result, marketeers find it difficult to target this group.

The fact that Generation X still uses analogue media doesn’t mean that she doesn’t use the internet, nor that she is less acceptive to online influences. An important characteristic of people from this generation is that they do extensive online research before making a purchase (online or in a physical store). About 68 percent of the people in this age category say they make decisions based on online reviews.

On average, Gen Xers ​​spend $ 1,930 a year online. Circa 24 percent of the online consumers are between 45 and 54 years old; a potential gold mine for companies.

How to reach Gen Xers

Generation X uses social media eagerly: about 80 percent of the Gen Xers say they use Twitter and have a Facebook profile. The average Gen Xer spends 7 hours a week on social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are therefore very suitable for reaching this target group.

An effective way to reach Generation X is by responding to their feelings of nostalgia. For example, referring to films and music made in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

As the new kid on the block, influencer marketing is still hardly used to reach Generation X. However, the unique way this generation consumes both traditional and modern media offers unprecedented opportunities for social influencer campaigns.