Five reasons Gen-X shouldn’t be left out of your marketing plans

By: Katrina Stroh, Vice President

Over time, Gen-X has been coined “the forgotten middle child”, largely due to their smaller size and being inadvertently sandwiched between two larger, and more culturally powerful, generations – Baby Boomers and Millennials. As many brands experienced their core Boomer audience aging over the past few decades, they naturally shifted their focus to garnering the attention of Millennials, and in more recent years, Gen Z. However, what about Gen-X? As it turns out, Gen-X is now the second largest generation, comprising 28% of US adults, only 3% lower than Millennials. Gen-Xers also carry considerable wealth and earning power, making them particularly attractive for most brands across industries. Below are five reasons why they deserve a larger focus now and in years to come:

1. Buying Power

64% of Gen-X are aged 45-54 and fall within top earning years of their life. They are the most educated with 45% holding college or post-grad degrees and to top it off, they have the highest average household incomes at $82,000. While Baby Boomers still command the highest share of wealth and assets, Gen-X is in their prime years for acquiring these assets, have the income to support high-value purchases and currently have the highest annual expenditures over all generations.

2. High Consumption

Not only do 48% have children under 18 but 94% of those children are between the ages of 10-17. According to the USDA, children become exponentially more expensive as they age with teens age 15-17 costing an average of $900 more annually per child than younger ages. This means these households are consuming more food, clothes, technology, sports equipment, transportation/cars, etc. than similar-sized families with small children.  

3. Influential Decision-Makers

Given their age of 43-58, they are not only serving as caretakers for their elderly parents, but 22% have adult children in the home (183 index) that they are supporting before they gain their own financial independence. This means that they are involved in many key purchase decisions on behalf of these additional adults surrounding things like healthcare, housing, education, financial, insurance, telecom and so on.

4. Homeowners

61% of Gen-Xers own their homes (115 Index), meaning they are likely in the market for things like home renovations, décor, maintenance, financial products, home loans, LOC’s, and of course, home insurance.

5. Brand Loyalists

Raised by Boomers, the Gen-X generation tends to carry on their parents’ values and influences on brand loyalty and are therefore the second most brand loyal generation with 56% citing they are loyal to the same brands as they were a year ago. The value this provides brands is once you acquire them as a customer, you have a higher chance of retaining them for a longer period of time, therefore offering a higher lifetime value.

We’ve identified industry categories that we believe are most ripe for continued momentum and growth against this audience. 

While many have largely overlooked the Gen X generation, it’s clear they hold significant value to brands and businesses. For those looking to continue to drive growth and engage with new audiences, look to find ways to connect with the “sandwich generation” who have proven to be fiercely brand loyal with unmatched spending power. 

In looking at how to best reach Gen-Xers across the media landscape, it’s clear a cross-channel approach is key.  While Gen-X maintains strong use of traditional channels like Radio and TV, they continue to adapt new patterns across the digital space as well.  Media channels lending the highest reach of this audience include – Broadcast TV, Cable, Radio (both in-car and at home), Video Streaming, Audio Streaming and Social.  Below is a high-level snapshot of networks and platforms lending the heaviest usage from this audience.

If all of this sounds complex, complexity is what Media+ is here for. Our media strategists are skilled at navigating multi-dimensional, multi-demographic media campaigns that give brands the exposure they crave. When it comes to Gen X, opportunities abound to tap into an oft-overlooked audience that maintains some of the strongest buying power, highest rates of consumption, most influential cross-generational decision-making, and strongest brand affinity of any demographic. Overlooked? Not if we have anything to say about it.

Sources: Resonate Data Research

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