13 stunning stats on Gen X—the forgotten-yet-powerful generation

13 stunning stats on Gen X—the forgotten-yet-powerful generation

Browse through any marketing magazine or website these days, and you’ll quickly notice the obsession with Millennials, and the up-and-coming Generation Z. But what many marketers often forget is that Generation X, the cohort born between 1965 to 1980, holds a lot of power.

Now at their best-earning years, Gen Xers are on their way to reaching the top of their profession. Ignoring them means ignoring a demographic that has impressive influence over both household and company decisions.

Here are some important statistics about the so called “sandwich generation”.

Generation X, work and the economy

They may be overlooked, but Gen X’s impact on workplace and the economy is hard to ignore. 

1. People from Generation X currently make thirty-one percent of the total US income, even though they only comprise twenty-five percent of the population. (TWEET THIS STAT)

2. Gen Xers are economically active: they found fifty-five percent of today’s startups. (TWEET THIS STAT)

3. They outspend all other generations when it comes to housing, clothing, eating out and entertainment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. (TWEET THIS STAT)

3. Members of Generation X make a middle-class income, with an average of $50,400. By comparison, Millennials only make $34,430 on average. (TWEET THIS STAT)

4. Research from Dr. Mary Donohue, a generational expert and social scientist, shows that good Xer-Millennial relationships in the workplace decreases employee turnover by fifty percent, and increases productivity by eleven percent. (TWEET THIS STAT)

Generation X, education and culture

They are a discerning, well-educated generation that values quality and respect for their knowledge.

6. Thirty-five percent of Xers in the U.S. have college degrees, compared to 19 percent of Millennials. This means that they tend to hold more powerful positions in organizations. They also make good mentors for the younger generation. (TWEET THIS STAT)

7. Known as the self-deprecating generation, only fourty-one percent of them actually identify with the label “Generation X”. Compared to sixty-one percent of Millennials who think they’re a special generation, members of Generation X don’t tend to believe in their own uniqueness. (TWEET THIS STAT)

8. Generation Xers love social media. Eighty-one percent of them have Facebook accounts, which they use more for keeping up with news and their kids than for self-promotion. (TWEET THIS STAT)

9. Members of this cohort spend about seven hours a week on social media, according to a 2017 Nielsen study. In comparison, Millennials spend just over six hours per week on social. (TWEET THIS STAT)

10. Gen Xers spend about 32 hours a week consuming all media. (TWEET THIS STAT)

Generation X, marketing and branding

Members of Generation X also have an interesting relationship with brands. They know themselves as the forgotten generation, between the more populous Boomers and Millennials.

11. Fifty-four percent of Gen Xers are frustrated that brands constantly ignore them. (TWEET THIS STAT)

12. Twenty-seven percent of Canadian Gen Xers don’t feel like advertising aimed at them actually reflects their experience. This means that they don’t feel like they can connect to brands or products easily. (TWEET THIS STAT)

13. If you want to market to Generation Xers, you should not forget traditional media. Forty-eight percent listen to the radio, sixty-two percent still read newspapers and eighty-five percent watch traditional television. (TWEET THIS STAT)

Ignore them at your peril

Despite being the smallest in numbers, Generation X currently has the biggest disposable income to spend on your products. Now in positions of power in their organizations, they also have a strong influence on corporate purchases. Using customer intelligence to get to know them, their needs, and their expectations is critical for your business’ survival.

Enterprise Guide to Customer Intelligence

  • Buck Jenkins

    Gen-X gets its name from X-factor, an unknown. Gen-Xers resist labels and stereotypes, which makes them very resistant to advertising.

    • Leah Silver Graves

      Actually the name Generation X comes from the book by Douglas Copeland of the same name.

      • Buck Jenkins

        oh you read the book. that’s super.

        • jazthedog

          I agree, the Gen-X term predated Copeland’s book by a lot of years.
          Billy Idol had a band in 1976 using Gen-X as it namesake well before his famous MTV days, and the term predated that use as well.
          By the Way, Copeland’s book was a good read.

          • Buck Jenkins

            I have no idea because I am illiterate. What’s a book?

          • Julie Draves

            Spoken like a true Gen Xer.

        • Julie Draves

          The term Generation X was coined by photographer Robert Capa in the early 1950s. He used it as a title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately after the Second World War. The ‘X’ refers to the unknown.

          “We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realised that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with.” – Robert Capa, Magnum Photographer

          The name became popular after Douglas Coupland published his novel entitled Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, concerning young adults during the late 1980s and their lifestyles.

  • Todd Duvardo

    DYI came out of left over smoldering ashes of punk. I do everything I can with my own two hand and tools and yes I am gonna take a stab at making my own clothes. I have tons of tools to fix and maintain my house to making jewelry for my personal style. I hate wearing anything with a label of the company unless I was paid for it. Over the years I have learned how to do and make everything I tried by getting the right tools and using the internet to help find some sound instructions on what to do. Working with your hands and then giving someone you like the fruits of your labor is about the greatest feeling there is. So many things are so simple and as your knowledge and skills grow you start to imagine things you may have not seen before. This is a common GX trait.

  • Kubrickian

    The small demographic has been something I’ve been aware of since graduating college. Rarely if ever do you live in a neighborhood or community with people your age. The older boomers want to hang out with you while the millenials strictly want to be with their generation.

  • Carrie Ann Luikens

    I have noticed in most TV and media articles that the X generation is pretty much never mentioned. They have been focusing almost solely on Baby Boomers and Millennials. Granted, most X gen people like to buck trends and be individuals, which might be perceived as anti-social, so many of us don’t particularly want to be advertised to. However, when it comes to say travel deals or the latest cool gadgets, I think marketers just don’t know what to do with us. And that’s fine. Leave the promotion to the X gen themselves. We have already been doing that all along, since the 90s DIY movements. Word of Mouth. Grassroots. Zines. eZines. Discussion forums. We were all part of that way before anything you see today.

  • Stephen Gonzalez MBA

    I enjoy going my own way. I don’t need to be labeled. We as a generation tend to be over looked and under estimated.
    Myself speaking being well traveled spending years in Italy 🇮🇹 and possessing three degrees. My self confidence is very stable. I am very excited for the future!

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