December 14, 2023
5 minute read

Generation X Marks the Spot

Marketers have been fawning over Millennials for years. At 7.3 million strong, they represent the largest generation since the Baby Boomers in Canada. They have a unique set of behaviors and attitudes and as digital natives, they are easily reached with an abundance of digital and social platforms.

But what about Generation X? Why does no one ever talk about us? Sure, we may be the second smallest of the major generations (Gen Z and Millennials at roughly 32%, Boomers at 34% and Seniors at 8%), but Gen Xers still represent more than a quarter of the total Canadian population and hold a significant amount of purchasing power.

Yes, that’s right, the MTV generation is all grown up and we are now about more than grunge music and Jordan Catalano. We are between the ages of 43 and 58 and most of us are well established in our careers and are in our prime earning years. Our teenage angst has evaporated to make Gen Xers the leading cohort in household income over $100K/year in Canada. We are a far cry from the “slackers” we were called in our youth.

Gen Xers represent more than a quarter of the total Canadian population and hold a significant amount of purchasing power.

Gen Xers are also the busiest generation – juggling work life and family life – and are willing to pay a premium for convenience. According to one study, 73% of Gen Xers have purchased prepared foods in the last 6 months. This opens the door for brands to increase their margins. Our struggle to achieve “work-life balance” is made even harder by being sandwiched between our Boomer parents and our Gen Z kids.

But this challenge for Gen Xers actually presents an opportunity for marketers. A recent study suggests that 75% of Gen Xers reported helping their parents financially, while 54% admit to controlling the spending of their children. In addition to making the purchasing decisions for themselves, Gen Xers wield a significant influence over these two generations.

Yet despite all this, Gen Xers are still typically left out of the mainstream marketing conversation. Reality bites! It’s time for brands to start realizing that the Gen X voice is a powerful one.

Here a few things to remember when targeting Gen Xers:

  • We are skeptical. We don’t fall prey to flashy advertising. Gen Xers like practicality and proof of performance.
  • We seek efficiency (can anyone say “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start”?) and respond to brands that deliver on that promise.
  • We like information. We spend a significant amount of time researching prior to making a purchase, and make use of search engines, online reviews and social media networks before making a purchase.
  • We are omnichannel. Gen Xers are tech savvy, but traditional marketing methods still work with this cohort. One study shows that 80% of Gen Xers report being on one or more digital channels and represent Facebook’s highest concentration of users but 71% of Gen Xers also subscribe to traditional TV, and 90% still listen to the radio.

So, to all the savvy marketers out there, don’t forget about the so-called “forgotten generation.” There are many reasons to keep us top of mind.