Brands: Here’s what you didn’t know about Gen X

June 14, 2018 6:00 pm

In an age of round-the-clock connectivity and unparalleled access to information, consumers have the ability and freedom to try out new products that match their needs.

And when it comes to Generation X consumers, examining their lifestyle, attitudes and digital behaviors has always been an interesting pursuit for marketers.

A research by Global Web Index has done exactly that.


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Generation X is viewed by many as the hard-to-reach generation, defined more by the millennial and baby boomer brackets they sit outside of, rather than the characteristics that set them apart.

The myth, the research adds, is that unlike younger consumers, Generation X aren’t digital natives. In reality, they’re a highly engaged audience, drawn to meaningful and purposeful interactions in the online space.

More purpose-driven

One of the interesting findings of the research is that the majority of Gen Xers are busy professionals, likely to have families, and as a generation, they wield great spending power.

But as they lack the luxury of time, they’re online activities are more driven by purpose and intent than casual browsing.

Are “digital natives”

Despite misconceptions that this generation isn’t “digital natives”, Gen X is now more likely to be getting online via a smartphone than a PC/laptop.

They’re doing more of the 34 online activities we track on their mobiles than their computers.


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TV biggest source of entertainment

Broadcast TV is still their biggest source of entertainment, but they’re now devoting a third of their daily TV time to online TV/streaming services, the findings of Global Web Index research note.

Gen X is moving with digital trends, just as Millennials and Gen Z are.

Spend 2 hours on social media

They spend almost 2 hours a day on social media and the majority have a Facebook account. Just like Millennials, they are multi-networkers and have an average of 7 social media accounts.

Traditional still the king

Traditional marketing channels are still king and they are most likely to come across new brands via TV ads, Global Web Index research notes.

Digital channels have a bigger impact than many may expect: 28% find new brands via online ads and a third are researching brands on social media.

Are most likely to be loyal

Gen X tend to earn more than average, but they’re still price-conscious, the research adds.


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Discounts and rewards are important for encouraging them to buy, and they value loyalty points more than any generation.

If brands get it right, Gen Xers are the generation most likely to be loyal, with 3 in 5 agreeing that once they find a brand they like, they’ll stick with it.

Favor Smartphones

PCs, laptops, and tablets may collectively continue to capture the biggest share (56%) of Gen Xers daily time online, but mobiles have made great headway in becoming the go-to device for this generation, who are slowly becoming just as attached as Millennials, Global Web Index research adds.

Mobile is Key to the Purchase Journey

Many assume that the younger generations have driven the upswing in e-commerce, but Gen X have actually been a key force and were among the first to adopt online shopping behaviors.


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Almost three quarters made a purchase online last month, and just as their attachment to mobile is evident elsewhere, it’s a key device throughout the purchase journey too.

If we look at the global average, 59% of millennials made a purchase online last month. In the case of the Middle East and Africa region as well, the percentage of Millennials made a purchase online last month is 59%.


Sunil Kumar Singh
By Sunil Kumar Singh
Sunil is a digital-savvy journalist and a leader in managing and integrating print & digital content in UAE, the Gulf and India. Sunil is an innovative editor with over 14 years' experience in digital content marketing, leading team and ability to deliver quality content for both print and new media.