Purchase Behavior of Gen X

Posted on Mon Aug 6, 2018.

On Imprint Engine’s last blog we covered the purchase behavior of Millennials. Generation X will start to move away from all of the digital influences you see in the first two generations we covered. The reliance on technology is not as heavy as those within the Generation Z and Millennial generations. However, technology is still a large part of their daily routines.

Consumer Insights of Generation X

Generation X’s age range varies depending on the publication, just like the Millennial generation, however a majority put birth ranges from the mid 1960s to the late 1970s. Generation X is commonly shortened to GenX, and they have also been called the latchkey generation or the MTV generation.

The latchkey generation title comes from the change in the structure of the American family. It was the true start of the two income norm, as women continued to enter into the workforce in droves. The MTV moniker was given thanks to the founding of Music Television in 1981 when many GenXers were coming of age.

This was also the first generation to see widespread increase of divorce rates in their parents, seemingly contributing to their angst. All of this culminated during their teen and twenties, allowing for 90s grunge to hit a surge in popularity. They in the past have been seen as cynical and jaded, many times questioning authority.

In the 21st century their questioning of authority, cynical nature, and their jaded attitude have morphed into a logical approach to purchasing. They are less likely to be swayed by emotional appeals than younger generations.

However there are opportunities to help them remember their times of rebellion, meaning that certain nostalgic appeals can work for the demographic. These are the emotional appeals that may take hold, whereas with younger generations tugging on the heartstrings truly helps to develop the relationship.

Like Millennials small businesses and startups are being born everyday from GenXers ideas. Entrepreneurship is high in this generation with many saving up from their 9 to 5 gigs and setting to work building their empire in their spare time. Typically they are more humble than the other generations that surround them. Choosing to let their work speak for itself instead of broadcasting their own praises to the world.

Generation X, like the younger two generations have easily adopted the internet. Coming of age when the internet boom happened, Gen X uses it for work now, but started utilizing it as a teen.

They are still apt to use it for researching purposes and are heavily involved in e-commerce purchasing. However they, more than the other two generations we have covered, are more likely to shop in store for purchases such as clothing, groceries, and electronics.

Growing up in a generation that did not have e-commerce for the first 5-15 years of their life, has contributed to this behavior. GenX has not adopted the usage of mobile apps at the rate you see in the younger two generations. They use their mobile devices to stay connected to the world. App games are less common in their daily routine than Gen Z or Millennials, making it harder to target them in application advertisements.

Like Millennials, they are typically well informed of current events and read the news via applications.  This generation’s views on politics and social issues are closer to the 50/50 split than younger generations.

Following liberal or conservative news outlets (i.e Huffington Post, Drudge Report)  via Facebook or downloads of their applications is not uncommon. Like the majority of other generations we are speaking about, confirmation bias based upon their news gathering tendencies is very common.

They are also avid volunteers, contributing the most service hours of any generation according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Giving back to their communities is important to their own growth and wellbeing.

Because of these tendencies Generation X seems to prefer products that are affordable and practical. They are more established in their careers, leading them to purchase larger items such as homes, appliances, and furniture. They read reviews thoroughly before making purchases, and rely on word of mouth for the biggest purchases.

Consuming a large majority of their tv and movies through internet streaming services, traditional cable and satellite providers have been shunned. This is due to the high prices, bundle based purchasing, and little to no customer service.

When marketing to Generation X keeping the message straightforward is going to appeal to them more than an emotional appeal. Focusing your efforts on places they gather, such as Hulu, News Outlets, and within their local market.

If you are interested in reaching Generation X through a comprehensive branding strategy, please Contact Us. For more information on the services we can provide visit What We Do.

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