Generation X are King Rockers but advertisers miss out

billy idolMarketers and their agencies are constantly being warned they are missing out on the lucrative over 60s Baby Boomers market but it appears that the real potential lies within the slightly younger Generation X, who are on track to be the most affluent generation of all time.

Crucially, Gen X are only going to get richer as they inherit their parents’ wealth when they pass away, to the tune of $70 trillion (£57trn).

So says a new Wavemaker “Finding the Gen X Factor”, which investigated 45- to 60-year-old audiences often ignored by brands and the advertising industry, particularly across social media.

Recognising a huge untapped opportunity, Wavemaker has undertaken what it claims is “first of its kind research” into the global Gen X consumer, to challenge misperceptions and to understand what a successful Gen X social media strategy looks like.

Wavemaker tapped into its own proprietary tools, commissioned new research, and spoke with almost 200,000 Gen Xers worldwide in the process.

Gen X is responsible for almost a third (27%) of global spending and has rapidly rising earnings and savings. Wavemaker found the majority (92%) of Gen X surveyed use social media every day and are the fastest growing generation on TikTok.

But despite making up almost a third (28%) of TikTok’s user base, only 5% of brand spend on influencer campaigns is targeted at Gen X.

Accounting for over a third (31%) of the global population, only 4% of the ad industry’s research into different generations includes Gen X. A quarter (24%) of TV ads typically feature characters over 50 years old, compared with over three quarters (76%) which feature 19-to 49-year-olds.

The research reveals that just one in 10 (13%) feel represented in the advertising they see, far lower than younger generations, although significantly higher than Boomers (60-75s) at just 9%.

Typical influencer campaigns tested performed far worse with this group than with Gen Z and Millennials with 30% lower retention rates, 20% fewer interactions with the content and 47% lower impact on brand opinion.

Posts from Gen X creators performed better with that audience and are on average three quarters (75%) longer than posts from Gen Z (10 to 25 seconds) or millennial (25 to 45 seconds) creators. They also tend to be more in depth and informative and favour softer, self-improvement language over the direct, salesy tone employed by Gen Z. Although they will scroll past irrelevant content, if it is worth seeing, Gen X are prepared to stick around when they are interested.

In addition, trust is (30%) more important to Gen X’s buying decisions than it is for younger generations. They consider 27% fewer brands than younger audiences and their purchases tend to be more driven by need. In contrast, younger audiences are twice as likely to have the ‘treat yo self’ mentality and buy on impulse across everything from replacement shower gel to a new car.

Wavemaker senior insight director Zoe Bowen-Jones said: “Gen X presents a huge opportunity for brands – they’re a highly engaged, loyal and wealthy consumers – and shouldn’t be overlooked by advertisers.

“Our research indicates that they are more brand loyal, have longer attention spans and are more engaged on social media, ultimately proving to be more valuable consumers than their younger counterparts.

“When it comes to engaging Gen X audiences, brands need to think long-term, long-form and community-based content to gain their trust, loyalty and ensure they feel represented.”

Interestingly, the members of punk band Generation X, including Billy Idol (pictured), are all Baby Boomers.

Related stories
Invisible Generation: Just 4% of people in ads are 60+
The folly of youth: Adland fails to woo older shoppers
Over 55 ‘Zenners’ are driving the home shopping boom 
Training gulf puts marketers ‘on the scrapheap’ at 55
Over 55s are ‘early adopters’ but don’t bother with ads
Over 55s spend more time on tablets than teens

Print Friendly